Philippine pangolin

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Philippine pangolin
Philippine pangolin 2015 stamp of the Philippines.jpg
Philippine pangolin on a 2015 stamp of the Philippines
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Pholidota
Family: Manidae
Genus: Manis
Subgenus: Paramanis
M. culionensis
Binomial name
Manis culionensis
(de Elera, 1895)
Philippine Pangolin area.png
Philippine pangolin range
Philippine Pangolin
An adult Philippine Pangolin and her pup photographed in the forests of Palawan.

The Philippine pangolin or Palawan pangolin (Manis culionensis), also locally known as balintong, is a pangolin species endemic to the Palawan province of the Philippines. Its habitat includes primary and secondary forests, as well as surrounding grasslands. This species is moderately common within its limited range, but is at risk due to heavy hunting because of its valued scales and meat.[2] This species is distinguished from the closely related Sunda pangolin by its smaller body-to-tail ratio, smaller scales, and a shorter head. It is listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, and Critically Endangered by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).[3]


The species was first described by Casto de Elera in 1885; it was also mentioned by de Elera in an 1895 work.[4][5] In the past, this species has been included with the Sunda pangolin, Manis javanica, but has been considered a distinct species since 1998.[6] Five distinct morphological characteristics involving the skull and the scales have been identified which separate it from the closely related M. javanica. Both M. javanica and M. culionensis are grouped in subgenus Paramanis.[7] Genetic isolation leading to the speciation between these species is hypothesized to have been caused by rising sea levels severing a land bridge from Borneo in the Early Pleistocene.[8]

The generic name Manis is from the Greek chthonic deity Manes, while the specific name culionensis refers to the island of Culion in Palawan.[9]

The local name balintong (also halintong or malintong) means "one who rolls over" or "one who somersaults" in the Visayan Cuyonon language. Other names in Cuyonon include balekon or balikon and goling, with the same meaning. In the Palawan language, it is also known as tanggiling (also spelled tangiling), also with the same meaning.[10]


The Philippine pangolin is a myrmecophage, so has a diet consisting mainly of ants and termites. It uses its long tongue with a coating of adhesive saliva to harvest insects. Pangolins have no teeth and consume sand and small stones to help grind food in their stomachs.[11]


The Philippine pangolin is nocturnal and reclusive and tends to be solitary. While some of their time is spent on the ground foraging, Philippine pangolins tend to stay in trees. When threatened, they, like all pangolins, roll into a ball and rely on the protection provided by their scales.


While little is known about the reproduction of Philippine pangolins, their mating habits are thought to be similar to those of the Sunda pangolin. Like most pangolins, Philippine pangolins mate in the spring. The young are born after a gestation period around 18 weeks and are suckled by their mothers about four months.[12]


Philippine Pangolins by Gregg Yan
A Philippine Pangolin pup nudges its mother, rolled up into a protective ball.
  1. ^ Schoppe, S., Katsis, L. & Lagrada, L. (2019). "Manis culionensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2019: e.T136497A123586862.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Manis culionensis in A synopsis of the mammilian fauna of the Philippine Islands. The Field Museum.
  3. ^ "Philippine Pangolin". Retrieved on 2016-06-22.
  4. ^ Schlitter, D.A. (2005). "Order Pholidota". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 530. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  5. ^ Catálogo sistemático de toda la fauna de Filipinas: conocida hasta el presente, y á la vez el de la colección zoológica del Museo de PP. Dominicos del Colegio-universidad de Sto. Tomás de Manila, escrito con motivo de la Exposición Regional Filipina Imprenta del Colegio de Santo Tomás, 1895
  6. ^ ITIS Standard Report for ''Manis culionensis'' Taxonomic Serial No.: 727709. Retrieved on 2016-06-22.
  7. ^ Paramanis in Wilson and Reeder's Mammal Species of the world: 3rd Edition
  8. ^ Gaubert, Philippe; Antunes, Agostinho (2005). "Assessing the Taxonomic Status of the Palawan Pangolin Manis Culionensis (Pholidota) Using Discrete Morphological Characters". Journal of Mammalogy. 86 (6): 1068. doi:10.1644/1545-1542(2005)86[1068:ATTSOT]2.0.CO;2.
  9. ^ Schoppe, Sabine; Katsis, Lydia K.D.; Alvarado, Dexter; Acosta-Lagrada, Levita (2019). "Philippine pangolin Manis culionensis (de Elera, 1915)". In Challender, Daniel W.S.; Nash, Helen C.; Waterman, Carly (eds.). Pangolins: Science, Society and Conservation. Academic Press. ISBN 9780128155066.
  10. ^ Vergara, Benito S.; Idowu, Panna Melizah H.; Sumangil, Julia H.; Gonzales, Juan Carlos; Dans, Andres. Interesting Philippine Animals. Island Publishing House, Inc. ISBN 9718538550.
  11. ^ Philippine Pangolin. The Animal Files. Retrieved on 2016-06-22.
  12. ^ Helmsworth, A. (2011). Manis culionensis. Animal Diversity Web.

External links[edit]