Alberto Barrion, J. Catindig and S. Villareal
International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines
Professor Jiaan Cheng (2nd from left) receiving plaque from Dr Robert Zeigler, DG of IRRI and Professor Zhang Guoping, Dean of Agriculture Faculty, Zhejiang University with Dr K.L. Heong, Principal Scientist, IRRI looking on.
The Hainan arthropod conservation project conducted field expeditions and samplings and discovered 57 new and yet to be described spider species in rice and surrounding habitats. All 57 species are now described and published in a monograph by the University of the Philippines. Earlier the first new species, Tetragnatha heongi from the first expedition described and published. A paper on the general spider fauna of the Hainan Island was also published. In describing the new species and had them peer reviewed, species were named after famous Chinese scientists involved in spider research, taxonomy and rice research. One species was named after Professor Jiaan Cheng and a plague commemorating the naming was presented to Professor Cheng in November 2012 at the International Conference Rice Planthopper Conference held in Hangzhou.
Plague with picture and drawings of the new species, Mallinella chengjiaani
Professor Cheng in his nearly 50 years’ career played a significant role to shaping rice pest management He started his career in rice pest management in 1964 and contributed significantly to pest ecology and management in China. He was appointed the vice president, the president of Zhejiang Agricultural University and later the vice president for research in when the universities merged into Zhejiang University. Professor Cheng was a mentor to 45 graduate students and still continues to guide the future generation of pest ecologists. Full descriptions of Professor Cheng’s contribution to rice pest management and the new spider species are available.
Distribution of sites where the 57 new species of spiders were discovered.
The spider species were discovered in 8 sampling sites, Songtao (17 species), Danzhou (10), Dapo (9), Haoko (7), Chengmai (5), Jianfengli (Yulingu) (5), Lingshui (2) and Sanya (2 ). Most of the new species discovered were from sites west of the Wuzhi mountain range in the center, where rice growing is less intense and have high habitat biodiversity. It has been shown that spider species richness is associated with bund habitat and insecticide use .