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Third Quarter Topical Issue - Philippine Endemic Lizards

The Philippine Postal Corporation (Philpost) announces the issuance of its Third Quarter Topical Issue featuring Philippine Endemic Lizards. It will be issued within the Third Quarter of CY2011 (July to September 2011). This special issue was initiated and suggested by a local stamp collector from Mindanao, Benjamin Respicio. All the text and photos were supplied by Arvin C. Diesmos, PhD. Herpetology Section, Zoology Division, National Museum of the Philippines. Local and foreign stamp collectors may place their orders via email address at philpost.stamps@gmail.com. They are also encouraged to acquire Philpost SODA (Standing Order Deposit Account) by depositing a minimum of US$ 100 to Banco De Oro Account No. 10-4570-02858-9, payee: Philippine Postal Corporation. Local stamp collectors may deposit, to Philippine Postal Bank, Peso Account, a minimum of Php 2,000.00 to Postal Bank Account No.: 001-001206-231 Please send copy of deposit slip to the same email address, for confirmation. Stamps: Php 7.00, Quantity: 120,000 pieces Souvenir Sheet: Php 28.00 Quantity 5,000 pieces PHILIPPINE ENDEMIC LIZARDS (PHILPOST Stamps) Contributors: Arvin C. Diesmos, Ph.D. is Scientist II and is in-charge of the Herpetology Section in the Zoology Division of the National Museum of the Philippines, Manila. Mae Lowe L. Diesmos, M.Sc. is Assistant Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Santo Tomas, Manila Cameron D. Siler is a Ph.D. candidate and an herpetologist at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA. Rafe M. Brown, Ph.D. is Associate Professor at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA and is a Research Associate of the National Museum of the Philippines. FIGURE 1 (CACHE for Souvenir Sheet OFDC ) Classification Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Sauria Family Varanidae Scientific Name and Authority Varanus bitatawa Welton, Siler, Bennett, Diesmos, Duya, Dugay, Rico, van Weerd & Brown, 2010 Common English Name Northern Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Lizard Vernacular Names “bitatawa” (Agta, Dumagat), “baritatawa” (Paranan), “butikaw” (Tingguian, Ilokano) General Information The Northern Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Lizard, Varanus bitatawa, is presently the largest species of monitor lizard known from the Philippines. Adult specimens may reach a total length of over 180 centimeters. Varanus bitatawa is an arboreal species, spending most of its time in the forest canopy and sub-canopy. It inhabits intact low-elevation rainforests from near sea level up to an elevation of about 500 meters. It is the third known species of monitor lizard in the world that is frugivorous (fruit-eating). The other two species (Varanus mabitang Gaulke & Curio, 2001 and Varanus olivaceus Hallowell, 1859) are both found only in the Philippines. This species is endemic to the Philippines and is found only in the northern portions of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range of Luzon. It has been recorded from a few localities in the Provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, and Aurora. References Welton, L. J., C. D. Siler, D. Bennett, A. Diesmos, M. R. Duya, R. Dugay, E. L. B. Rico, M. van Weerd, and R. M. Brown. 2010. A spectacular new Philippine monitor lizard reveals a hidden biogeographic boundary and a novel flagship species for conservation. Biology Letters 6:654–658. International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN]. 2010. 2010 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2011. FIGURE 2 (SOUVENIR SHEET Stamp #3 Design) Classification Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Sauria Family Agamidae Scientific Name and Authority Hydrosaurus pustulatus (Eschscholtz, 1829) Common English Name Philippine Sailfin Lizard Vernacular Names “ibid” (Visayan), “balubid”, “layagan” (Tagalog) General Information Hydrosaurus pustulatus is an impressive looking lizard with prominent crests along its back and on the tail. Adult sailfin lizards are over a meter in total length. It is omnivorous and feeds on shoots of young plants, fruits, arthropod insects, and even small lizards. This is an oviparous species that buries eggs under the sand in riverbanks. The Philippine Sailfin Lizard is a semi-aquatic species, living in natural lakes and ponds, in rivers and their tributaries in lowland forests (both primary and secondary). It may also be found in open cultivated areas. During the day, sailfin lizards may be perched on shrubs or on trees above water bodies. This species is endemic to the Philippines and is found in most major islands including Luzon, Mindoro, Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Panay, Negros, Bohol, and Mindanao, but may also be found on other islands with appropriate habitats. It is a threatened species and is listed as Vulnerable. References Alcala, A. C. 1986. Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna: Amphibians and Reptiles. Volume X. Natural Resources Management Center and University of the Philippines, Manila. International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN]. 2010. 2010 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2011. FIGURE 3 (SOUVENIR SHEET Stamp #1 Design) Classification Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Sauria Family Agamidae Scientific Name and Authority Gonocephalus sophiae (Gray, 1845) Common English Name Philippine Forest Dragon Vernacular Names “hunyango” (Tagalog) General Information Gonocephalus sophiae is one of at least three species of forest dragons known from the Philippines. It is a medium sized lizard; adults reach a total length of about 30 cm. This species inhabits lowland forests (both primary and secondary) but is occasionally found in second growth vegetation. It is an arboreal species and spends most of its time on trees. It is carnivorous and feeds mostly on insects. It is oviparous; females are often observed digging nests at the base of trees. Eggs are buried under the soil. Gonocephalus sophiae is endemic to the Philippines and is known thus far from the islands of Luzon, Panay, Negros, and Mindanao. References Alcala, A. C. 1986. Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna: Amphibians and Reptiles. Volume X. Natural Resources Management Center and University of the Philippines, Manila. International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN]. 2010. 2010 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2011. FIGURE 4 (BLOCK OF 4 Stamp #3 Design) Classification Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Sauria Family Gekkonidae Scientific Name and Authority Cyrtodactylus mamanwa Welton, Siler, Linkem, Diesmos, and Brown, 2010 Common English Name Southern Philippines Bent-Toed Gecko Vernacular Names “tiki”, “tuko” (Visayan) General Information Cyrtodactylus mamanwa is a medium sized forest gecko. Adult lizards reach a total body length of about 19 cm. This species inhabits lowland forests (both primary and secondary) but is occasionally found in second growth vegetation. It is arboreal and spends most of its time on trees. It is often observed on trunks or under split barks of trees. Like other geckoes, C. mamanwa feeds mostly on insects. Females deposit two brittle-shelled eggs under barks of trees or on the trunk inside tree cavities. Cyrtodactylus mamanwa is endemic to the Philippines and is known only from the islands of Dinagat, Siargao, and adjacent islands, off the northeastern coast of Mindanao. References Ross, C. A. and J. D. Lazell, Jr. 1990. Amphibians and reptiles of Dinagat and Siargao islands, Philippines. Philippine Journal of Science 119(3):257–286. Welton, L. J., C. D. Siler, C. W. Linkem, A. C. Diesmos, and R. M. Brown. 2010. Philippine bent-toed geckos of the Cyrtodactylus agusanensis complex: multilocus phylogeny, morphological diversity, and descriptions of three new species. Herpetological Monographs 24:55–85. FIGURE 5 (16on TITLE Selvage Design) Classification Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Sauria Family Gekkonidae Scientific Name and Authority Ptychozoon intermedium Taylor, 1915 Common English Name Philippine Parachute Gecko, Philippine Flying Gecko Vernacular Names “tiki”, “tuko” (Visayan) General Information Ptychozoon intermedium is a striking species of forest gecko. These lizards have prominent skin flaps on the limbs, on sides of body, and on the tail. This skin ornamentation tend to increase the surface area of its body, which helps lizards to “parachute” or to “fly” easily from one tree to another. Such ability is especially useful when they are fleeing from a potential predator. Adult lizards may reach a total length of 20 cm. The Philippine Parachute Gecko is a rarely observed species. It inhabits lowland forests and is occasionally found in second growth vegetation. It is nocturnal and arboreal, spending most of its time on trees. It feeds mostly on insects. Ptychozoon intermedium is endemic to the Philippines and has been found on the islands of Leyte, Dinagat, and Mindanao. It is considered a Near Threatened species. References Brown, R. M., J. W. Ferner, and A. C. Diesmos. 1997. Definition of the Philippine Parachute Gecko, Ptychozoon intermedium Taylor 1915 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae): redescription, designation of a neotype, and comparisons with related species. Herpetologica 53(3):357–373. International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN]. 2010. 2010 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2011. FIGURE 6 (BLOCK OF 4 Stamp #2 Design) Classification Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Sauria Family Gekkonidae Scientific Name and Authority Gekko carusadensis Linkem, Siler, Diesmos, Sy, and Brown, 2010 Common English Name Luzon Karst Gecko Vernacular Names “butiki”, “tuko” (Tagalog) General Information Gekko carusadensis is a medium sized gekkonid with a total length of up to 18 cm for adult lizards. It differs from other Philippine species of the genus Gekko by its size, the number of pre-cloacofemoral pores, and the coloration pattern. The Luzon Karst Gecko lives exclusively in forested limestone karst and limestone caves. These unique and specialized habitats are highly threatened in the Philippines. Gekko carusadensis belongs to a distinct group of Philippine lizards that evolved in limestone karst habitats. Gekko carusadensis is a nocturnal species. The myriad crevices and hollows offered by limestone boulders and outcrops serve as microhabitats. Female lizards deposit their eggs on the walls of caves. The Luzon Karst Gecko is endemic to the Philippines and is so far known only from Biak na Bato National Park in east central Luzon. Reference Linkem C. W., C. D. Siler, A. C. Diesmos, E. Sy, and R. M. Brown. 2010. A new species of Gekko (Squamata: Gekkonidae) from central Luzon Island, Philippines. Zootaxa 2396:37–49. FIGURE 7 (BLOCK OF 4 Stamp #4 Design) Classification Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Sauria Family Scincidae Scientific Name and Authority Sphenomorphus leucospilos (Peters, 1872) Common English Name Luzon White-Spotted Forest Skink Vernacular Names “bubuli” (Tagalog) General Information Sphenomorphus leucospilos is a colorful forest skink inhabiting the rainforests of Luzon. These lizards are typically red orange in color with scattered bright white spots and a pair of black bands across the sides of the body. Adult lizards reach a total length of up to 15 cm. This species lives in the banks of streams and rivers and usually hide under rocks or in forest litter and debris. When faced with danger such as predators (especially water snakes), it dives into the water and stays submerged for a considerably long period of time—an extraordinary behavior unique to this lineage of forest skinks. Its primary habitat is lowland forest in both primary and secondary type. Sphenomorphus leucospilos is endemic to the Philippines and is restricted to Luzon. It is considered a Near Threatened species. References Brown, W. C. and A. C. Alcala. 1980. Philippine Lizards of the Family Scincidae. Silliman University Natural Science Monograph Series 2. Dumaguete City, Philippines. International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN]. 2010. 2010 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2011. FIGURE 8 (SOUVENIR SHEET Stamp #2 Design) Classification Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Sauria Family Scincidae Scientific Name and Authority Tropidophorus grayi Günther, 1861 Common English Name Philippine Spiny Stream Skink Vernacular Names “bubuli” (Tagalog), “tabili” (Visayan) General Information Tropidophorus grayi is among the most striking forest skink in the Philippines. Its body is covered with spiny and pointed scales that likely serve as a deterrent against predators. Adult Philippine Spiny Stream Skink reaches a total length of about 20 cm. This species lives exclusively in the lowland forest. It inhabits the banks of streams and rivers, hiding under rocks or large boulders. They are usually found on top of rocks while basking under the sun. In the forest, they live under decayed logs, which serve as refuge and breeding microhabitat. The Philippine Spiny Stream Skink is endemic to the Philippines and is known from Luzon, Polillo island group, Leyte, Masbate, Cebu, Negros, and Panay. References Alcala, A. C. 1986. Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna: Amphibians and Reptiles. Volume X. Natural Resources Management Center and University of the Philippines, Manila. International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN]. 2010. 2010 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2011. FIGURE 9 (BLOCK OF 4 Stamp Design #1) Classification Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Sauria Family Scincidae Scientific Name and Authority Sphenomorphus cumingi (Gray, 1845) Common English Name Luzon Giant Forest Skink Vernacular Names “bubuli” (Tagalog) General Information Sphenomorphus cumingi is a large forest skink, with mature adult lizards reaching a total length of up to 35 cm. Body color is reddish brown with a scattering of black, yellow, and white spots and a prominent pair of black bands on the sides of the body. This species inhabits forest habitats from the lowlands up to 1,000 meters in elevation, and is occasionally found in second growth vegetation. It is a diurnal species, often found on the forest floor hunting actively for insects, earthworms, and other invertebrates. Decayed logs serve as hiding places and an important microhabitat during the breeding season. Sphenomorphus cumingi is endemic to the Philippines and is known from the islands of Luzon, Mindoro, Calotcot, Sibuyan, Lubang, Dinagat, Leyte, Samar, Bohol, Sicogon, and Mindanao. References Alcala, A. C. 1986. Guide to Philippine Flora and Fauna: Amphibians and Reptiles. Volume X. Natural Resources Management Center and University of the Philippines, Manila. International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN]. 2010. 2010 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2011. FIGURE 10 (SOUVENIR SHEET Stamp 4 Design ; OFDC CACHE for Souvenir Sheet) Classification Class Reptilia Order Squamata Suborder Sauria Family Scincidae Scientific Name and Authority Brachymeles elerae (Taylor, 1917) Common English Name Cordilleras Slender Skink Vernacular Names “bubuli” (Tagalog) General Information Skinks of the genus Brachymeles is a remarkable group of lizards that is found in Southeast Asia. Nearly all known species in this genus occur only in the Philippines. Many species of Brachymeles have elongated body and miniscule limbs that make them look more like snakes than lizards. In fact, some members of this group have almost completely lost their limbs. Brachymeles elerae belongs to a group of Philippine Brachymeles that is characterized by an elongated body and reduced number of toes (it only has four toes although some species have no toes at all). This is a small-bodied species; adult lizards grow only up to 13 cm in total length. Like all other species of the genus Brachymeles, it lives under forest litter, soil, and especially decayed logs. It feeds on termites, other insects, and earthworms. Interestingly, Brachymeles lizards have also been observed to attack and chomp on other lizards. Brachymeles elerae is endemic to the Philippines and is known only from the highlands of the Central Cordillera Mountain in Luzon. Its conservation status is Data Deficient. References Siler, C. D. 2010. Reptilia, Squamata, Scincidae, Brachymeles elerae (Taylor, 1917): Rediscovery in Old Balbalan, Cordillera Mountain Range, Luzon Island, Philippines, and natural history. Check List 6(4):616–618. International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN]. 2010. 2010 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 13 May 2011.