NO: 012 /SP/HM/BKPUK/I/2022

Sulawesi, Center for New Species Discovery

At the end of 2021, the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) successfully recorded 88 new types of discoveries. Nearly 80% of these new species were discovered in Sulawesi. Discovery of fauna dominates the finding with a total of 75 species and the remaining 13 species of flora. The discovery of these new species is important in taxonomic and systematic studies. Furthermore, this discovery is the beginning of further biodiversity research, such as conservation to bioprospection.

Cibinong, 28 January 2022. Although the pandemic is still hitting the world, the enthusiasm of BRIN researchers at the Biological Research Center has never subsided to discover and reveal the potentials of Indonesia’s biodiversity. Thanks to the availability of increasingly complete research facilities and collaboration between domestic and foreign researchers, BRIN researchers have succeeded in uncovering 88 new species for Indonesia’s biodiversity data.

Most of the new species discovered are endemic to the flora and fauna of the location where they were found. Only five species came from specimens whose samples were collected from outside Indonesia, namely Papua New Guinea, the majority are from the island of Sulawesi. While other specimens came from Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Bali and several other Indonesian islands.

Of the 75 newly identified fauna species, 68% are endemic to Sulawesi. This fauna group included a new type of beetle, shrew, snake, worm, shrimp and fish. While, the remaining 32% came from groups of coleoptera, lizards, lizards, frogs, cockroaches, birds, fish, isopods, and crustaceans found in several places in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Meanwhile, of the 13 species of flora found 54% are from Sulawesi. The types of flora found include begonias, gingers, orchids, Cyrtandra, Bulbophyllum, Artocarpus. The rest are found on the islands of Sumatra, West Java and the Philippines.

BRIN’s Head of Biological Research Organization (OR-IPH), Iman Hidayat said that Indonesia is a country with the largest biodiversity in the world which includes terrestrial and marine biodiversity. However, the number that has been successfully uncovered and recorded is still minimal. “Several researchers estimate that the amount of biodiversity that has been discovered so far is only about 10% of the total potential of existing biodiversity,” he said.

Efforts to Disclose and Utilize Biodiversity

Since the formation of BRIN, one of BRIN’s priority programs is efforts to disclose and utilize biodiversity. ” BRIN IPH RO, as the coordinator of the national research program, currently has two important activities, namely rumah program (home program) related to disclosure and utilization of the archipelago’s biodiversity and conservation of endangered plants,” added Iman.

Iman explained that some of BRIN’s biodiversity conservation efforts include storing data of whole genome sequences and partial DNA/protein sequences, Kehati; disclosure of threats and impacts of global changes on the status of the archipelago’s ecosystems and biodiversity; rehabilitation and increase of population of endangered species; Ex situ exploration and conservation as well as species ecology and restoration.

Anang S. Achmadi, Head of the Center for Biological Research explained that the success of BRIN researchers in uncovering new Indonesian species is like finding a treasure in the motherland. “The research process is long, starting from exploration, studying museum collections to using technology for identification process. The research journey does not necessarily stop after finding a new species, as there will be many further studies that can be done on the discovery of the new species, such as what active substances are contained in this species, or the environmental indicators of environmental change,” said Anang.

With regard to Indonesia’s biodiversity conservation efforts, Anang said that BRIN has played an active role. The Secretariat of the Scientific Authority for Biodiversity (SKIKH)-BRIN has a role as a scientific authority in Indonesia. Here, the SKIKH actively participates as an Indonesian delegate in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and so forth.

In addition, BRIN’s other conservation efforts that have been carried out for tens or hundreds of years have also been realized in the form of scientific deposits and repositories stored in the Zoologicum Bogoriense Museum, Herbarium Bogoriense, and Indonesian Culture Collection.

Discovery of 75 New Fauna Species

  • Beetle- Coleoptera

Discovery of fauna species dominates again this year. Many types of beetles are found especially in Sulawesi. Pramesa Narakusumo, a researcher at the Center for Biological Research (PRB) explained that there are 28 snout beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera: Curculionidae) from the genus Trigonopterus. In particular, the snout beetle, which cannot fly and lives in isolated locations in mountain forests, is believed to have evolved rapidly over millions of years, so that the level of endemicity and biodiversity is very high.

Sih Kahono, a PRB researcher also found five species of coleoptera, namely three from the merklomaia genus, and one each from the barongus, enaceratos, and margites genera. Enacerators inexpectus and barongus sugiartoi are found in South Kalimantan, while, the genus Merklomaia, namely merklomaia viridipennis is found in North Sulawesi, Merklomaia palopoensis from South Sulawesi and Merklomaia ottoi from northern Sumatra.

A new species for the genus Margites, namely Margites uenoi, was also found by Sih Kahono in East Kalimantan. This type of Coleoptera has a small body compared to the size of beetles in the same genus. Physically, this species is black, blackish brown on the antennae and legs, brown on the abdomen, and the body is covered with whitish yellow hair.

  • Mammals-Shrews

The 14 new species of shrew belonging to the genus crocidura are also believed to be endemic to Sulawesi. Anang S. Achmadi, a researcher and Acting head of the Center for Biological Research together with Jake Esselstyn, a mammalian expert from Louisiana State University (LSU), United States and Kevin C. Rowe, a mammalian expert from the Australian Museum of Victoria stated that this discovery is the largest discovery of a mammal group published since 1931.

So far, 461 shrew species have been identified. This fauna has a very wide and worldwide distribution. These insectivorous animals are closer relatives of porcupines and moles than other types of mammals.

  • Reptiles – Geckos

Several new types of reptiles were also discovered by Awal Riyanto, a Zoological Researcher from the Center for Biological Research, namely a new type of lizard named Cyrtodactylus hamidy (Jarilengkung Gecko) from Kalimantan and a new type of snake named Oligodon tolaki from Sulawesi and a lizard with the scientific name Gonocephalus megalepis from Sumatra.

  • Amphibians

This year several new types of frogs were also discovered, among others from the genera megophrys, chirixalus, and occidozyga.

Amir Hamidiy explained that the south coast chirixalus came from the Java Lowland Forest, two horn frogs (Megophrys) were found in South Sumatra (Megophrys selatansis) and Aceh (Megophrys acehensis) and Occidozyga berbeza from Malaysian Borneo.

According to Amir, Chirixalus belongs to the group of small rhacophorid frogs with the male body length of 25.3–28.9 mm. Morphologically, this species much resembles Chirixalus nongkhorensis from Chonburi, Thailand. The pattern of its dorsal color is genetically closest to Chirixalus trilaksonoi which also comes from West Java. Currently, the conservation status of Chirixalus pantaiselatan is likely critically endangered. “Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the criteria of Red List for Threatened Species are the appearance rate <100 km2, the habitat area <10 km2, and only found in one location, where the quality of the habitat is decreasing.

Unlike chirixalus, megophrys has a unique character; the tip of the snout and the eyelids are modified into sharp protrusions (like horns). Tadpoles from the megophrys family also have a unique character in which their mouths are modified into the shape of a widening funnel. Currently, 13 species of Megophrys are known to exist in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, and the Philippines. Kalimantan holds the high record – as six of these species are found on this island.

Furthermore, frogs from the genus Megophrys also have a faint morphological diversity. When conducting a herpetofauna survey throughout the Bukit Barisan Mountain range in Sumatra, the researchers found a population of southern Sumatran Megophrys with smooth dorsal skin that is morphologically similar to M. montana from Java and a population resembling the dorsal skin of M. parallela from northern Sumatra. We investigated the taxonomic status of these two new populations and predicted their phylogenetic relationships.

  • Nematodes-Worms

For the nematode category, Zoological Researchers found two new types, namely Vegeloides morowaliensis and Spinicauda ciremaiensis.

Endang Purwaningsih, a Zoological Researcher, explained the physical characteristics of male parasitic worm Vegeloides morowaliensis which was found to be 12.38mm long. This specimen of worms found in Sulawesi and Maluku has an anterior tip of 6 thick lips, two amphids and four head papillae. The buccal capsule is small, the esophagus is club-shaped. Deirid is rounded with a thin seta. Two gubernaculum, unequal shape, left gubernaculum size 55 ꭒm x 14 C; right gubernaculum size 36 ꭒm x 21 ꭒm. Banana-shaped short spicules with a length of 254 (230 – 283) ꭒm. Papilla tail 8 pairs. Blunt tail, tip rounded with a very thin mucron at the tip, 52 (45–60) ꭒm long. Male worms are 13.24 (10.35–16.67) mm long. Tail short, blunt-tipped 52 (42–60)µm long. The eggs are round, thick-walled and measure 43 (38–45)µm x 32 (28–33)µm.

Meanwhile, for the new species Spinicauda ciremaiensis from Mount Ciremai, West Java, Zoological Researcher Kartika Dewi said that the small worm has a head that looks like separated from the body. Spinicauda ciremaiensis is the only species of the genus Spinicauda that has a thickened gubernaculum accessory.

The physical characteristics of this new species are a mouth with three lips, each edge of which has three hills. The esophagus has an esophageal bulb. The length of male worm is 3.84 (3.31–4.41) mm. There are sucking organs before the cloaca and 14 pairs of papillae on the posterior part of the male. The tail is curved ventrally with a length of 195 (160–250) ꭒm. The gubernaculum is ship-shaped with a length of 126 (117–136) ꭒm and a width of 42 (40–44) m, with a gubernaculum accessory of 36 (34–38) µm in length and 27 (26–28) µm in width. The spicules are the same in size and length with a length of 633 (580–670) ꭒm. Female worm measures 4.47 (3.55–5.10) mm with tail  359 (280–420) in length. The eggs are oval, thick-walled and measure 59.2 (56.8–60.3) ꭒm x 39 (38.9–41.5) ꭒm. Spinicauda ciremaiensis is the only species of the genus Spinicauda that has thickened gubernaculum accessory.

  • Crustaceans

According to Conni Margaretha Sidabalok, the discovery of an isopod named Dolichiscus selatan is the fourth species of the dolichiscus genus found in the Indo-Pacific region. The species found in the Indian Ocean south of Java and in the Sunda Strait at a depth of 312-1,068m are endemic to these locations.

Meanwhile, the discovery of five (5) other crustaceans found by Daisy Wowor from Lake Poso Sulawesi, namely Caridina fusca, Caridina lilianae, Caridina marlinae, Caridina mayamareenae, Caridina poso are endemic to Sulawesi.

Caridina fusca has a straight or slightly curved rostrum (horns on the head), of medium length, 5-7 teeth behind the eyes and 12-17 teeth scattered along the upper edge of the horn, and 7-9 teeth along the lower edge of the horn. The body is dark red or brownish in color with small blue spots, and there are usually 4 distinct transverse white bands on the ventral segment.

Meanwhile Caridina lilianae has a long and slender rostrum (horn on the head), curved upwards. There are 3-6 teeth behind the eyes and 10-20 teeth scattered almost along the back half of the upper edge of the horn, and 6-18 teeth along the edge. under the horns. The body is bright red with large white spots.

The third type of shrimp, Caridina marlenae has a long and slender rostrum (horns on the head), curved upwards. There are 3-6 teeth behind the eyes and 10-20 teeth spread almost along the back half of the upper edge of the horn, and 6-18 teeth along the lower edge of the horn. The body is bright red with large white spots.

Different from other types, Caridina mayamareenae has a very high rostrum (horns on the head), the upper edge is straight or slightly convex, the front of the lower edge is convex. There are 4-7 teeth behind the eyes and 10-19 teeth along the upper edge of the rostrum, and 4-12 teeth spread over the front part of the lower edge of the rostrum. The female body is slightly white with several broad bands and bright red spots, while the male is generally transparent with some white spots.

Whereas Caridina poso has a very long and slender rostrum (horn on the head), curved upwards, there are 3-5 teeth behind the eyes and 8-14 teeth spread almost along 0.2-0.5 behind the upper edge of the horn, and 19-37 teeth along the lower edge of the horn. The body and legs are reddish striped with white spots lining up in several rows. At the end of the tail is a large black and white spot, the mustache is dark red, the feet are white with red toes.

In addition, Mulyadi, a Zoological Researcher also found new species from the crustacean group, namely from the genus Labidocera and Pontella, among others Labidocera baliensis from Bali, Labidocera gagensis from Gag Island, Papua, Pontella nishidai from East Java and Pontella gilimanukensis from Bali. In the Sunda Strait, researcher Dharma Arif Nugroho found a new type of crab, named Oreotlos octavus-kepiting.

  • Fish

A new type of fish named Eleotris douniasi is only found in Kalimantan. According to Hadi Dahruddin, this new type of fish lives downstream in muddy to clear water. This type is distinguished by the second, third and fourth rows of suborbital free neuromasts on the cheek extending ventrally across the horizontal row; row os connects to row oi at the ventro-posterior margin of the operculum (‘closed’ pattern), 19–20 pectoral fins, 41–44 scales in lateral series and 31–37 predorsal. Cycloid scales on the head, nape, base of pectoral fins, area before pelvis and abdomen. Stenoid scales cover the pelvis. Dorsal fin VI-I,8; D1 is separate from and smaller than D2; spines are not elongated. Anal fin I,9 and directly opposite the second dorsal fin. Separate pelvic fins, I,5. Pectoral fins 19–20. Pointed tail fin with 15 forked fingers.

The color characteristics are almost the same in males and females. The whole body is almost all dark brown. In addition, the cheeks and operculum are slightly brown with a yellowish dot from the snout to the operculum, and so are the lips. Lateral part of the body with some yellowish scales. The belly and gular areas are grayish with small scattered dark/pale spots.

In addition to the new species above, three other new fish species have been successfully identified, namely Eleotris woworae, Eleotris sumatraensis and Schismatogobius limmoni from Sulawesi.

Meanwhile, for the insect group, a new type of cockroach was also found, namely Nocticola baumi from Papua New Guinea and a new type of bird scientifically named Melanocharis berrypecker also from Papua New Guinea.

Discovery of 13 New Flora Species

Flowering plants (Gesneriaceae) are the most common findings in the field of botany. There are four new cyrtandra species discovered by A. Kartonegoro, a botanist from the Center for Biological Research in Sulawesi, namely Cyrtandra balgooyi, Cyrtandra flavomaculata, Cyrtandra longistamina, and Cyrtandra parvicalyx.

For the begonia genus, two new species were found, namely Begonia robii from West Sumatra and Begonia willemii from Central Sulawesi. According to Deden Girmansyah, a botanical researcher from the Center for Biological Research, the two new species are endemic to Sumatra and Sulawesi. Begonia willemii is a section of petermannia. Begonia robii has the characteristics of spreading stems, spotted leaves, and white flowers.

Meanwhile, Wita Wardani, a botanical researcher at the Biological Research Center and the team have succeeded in identifying a new type of pteridophyte plant, namely Deparia stellate. Based on the type specimens collected by W.R. Barker in the 1975 Pegunungan Bintang Expedition. The expedition was a collaborative botanical exploration journey between the Dutch Rijksherbarium and the Papua New Guinea national herbarium.

In addition, several other species were also found, among others gingers (zingiberaceae), namely Etlingera comosa and Zingiber ultralimitale subsp. Matarombeoense from Sulawesi. Meanwhile, from the type of fungus, Marasmius jasingensis was found in West Java.

Other species found are Bulbophyllum mamasaense from Sulawesi, Artocarpus bergii from Maluku and Impatiens dairiensis from Sumatra. Meanwhile, from outside Indonesia, a new species was found, namely Freycinetia quezonensis from the Philippines

Details of the findings can be downloaded at the following link: