Species Discovered from Cerro Chucantí
Preliminary field surveys of Cerro Chucantí by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the University of Panama, and biologists from around the world continue to reveal the presence of unique flora and fauna. Some of these species have never been found before in the country of Panama, while others were undescribed species completely new to science. Thus far, a new species of spider, a salamander, a frog, a snake, a few insects, and a couple of new plant species have been discovered at Cerro Chucantí.
We have acknowledged the presence of at least seven new amphibian taxa and two reptiles (pending description). Three of these species have been described by biologists in recent years: a Salamander (Bolitoglossa chucantiensis), a Tink frog (Diasporus majeensis) and a Centipede Snake (Tantilla berguidoi). Because of the extremely restricted distribution of the Tink frog and Centipede Snake, which are only found near the peak of Cerro Chucanti, they are both proposed to be Critically Endangered based on IUCN Criteria.
A species of Barychelidae (Strophaeus sebastiani), a trap door spider, has been discovered and described by Roberto J. Miranda & Sergio E. Bermúdez.
A new species of Neotropical ant in the genus Myrmelachista, was discovered. These ants have a symbiotic relationship with Lauraceae, the avocado family. Another species of ant; a small predaceous ant, which lives in leaf litter and rotting wood, in genus Strumigenys was discovered.
Two new species of long-horned beetles (Family Cerambycidae), Tessaropa elizabeth and Anelaphus cordiforme have been discovered at Chucantí.
Biologists are also discovering new species of plants at a rapid pace. Panamanian botanist Rodolfo Flores and collaborators published an article in February 2017 describing a new Heliconia (Heliconia berguidoi). In the last few months Flores has submitted formal descriptions of two new plant species from Chucantí (Lauraceae, Rubiaceae). Botanist Orlando Ortiz and collaborators have recently described two new Araceae species from Cerro Chucantí: Anthurium chucantiensis and Anthurium annularum, both considered Critically Endangered. Dr. Thomas Croat, a world authority from the Missouri Botonical Garden, recently reviewed other specimens from Chucanti and estimates that there are at least six other undescribed Araceae in this pristine cloud forest, waiting to be discovered and described.
Miranda, R.J. and S.E. Bermúdez. 2010. Strophaeus Sebastiani, nueva especie de Barychelidae (Araneae: Mygalomorphae) de Panamá.
Bezark, L.G.., W.H. Tyson, and N.M. Schiff. 2013. New species of Cerambycidae from Panama, with new distribution records (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae).
Batista, A., et al. 2014. A new species of Bolitoglossa (Amphibia: Plethodontidae) from eastern Panama, with comments on other members of the adspersa species group from eastern Panama.
Batista, A., et al. 2016. An integrative approach to reveal speciation and species richness in the genus Diasporus (Amphibia: Anura: Eleutherodactylidae) in eastern Panama.
Batista, A., et al. 2016. A new species of centipede snake of the genus Tantilla (Squamata: Colubridae) from an isolated premontane forest in eastern Panama.
Ortiz, O.O., et al. 2016. New species of Anthurium (Araceae) from Chucantí Nature Reserve, eastern Panama.
Flores, R., C. Black, and A. Ibáñez. 2017. A new species of Heliconia (Heliconiaceae) with pendent inflorescence, from Chucantí Private Nature Reserve, eastern Panama.