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7 Most Beautiful and Amazing Animals of the Philippines

Errah is a bookwormy and logophilic writer and science & technology teacher. He often writes about scientific ideas, theories, and research.

Read on to learn about 7 of the most enchantingly beautiful animals native to the Philippines. Pictured above is a Palawan peacock-pheasant, drawn in 1838 by Nicolas Huet and Jean Gabriel Prêtre.

Read on to learn about 7 of the most enchantingly beautiful animals native to the Philippines. Pictured above is a Palawan peacock-pheasant, drawn in 1838 by Nicolas Huet and Jean Gabriel Prêtre.

What Are the Most Beautiful Animals From the Philippines?

Have you ever seen an insect that looks like a flower? How about an octopus that carries an enchanting blanket? Yes, they exist!

You're certainly aware that there are a lot of gorgeous and magnificent creatures in the world, but here is a list of the most stunning native and endemic animals found in the Philippines. Curious about these lovely Filipino critters and want to learn more about them?

This article discusses the 7 most beautiful animals from the Philippines:

  1. Rainbow blanket octopus
  2. Nudibranchs
  3. Palawan peacock-pheasant
  4. Flying dragons
  5. Orchid mantis
  6. Mandarinfish
  7. Philippine pangolin

1. Rainbow Blanket Octopus

The rainbow blanket octopus is one of the most beautiful, most fascinating, and most intelligent animals in the world. The name comes from the fact that it is rainbow-colored with very long and blanket-like membranous webs that connect some arms of the octopus.

The elongated webs act as a mechanical defense against predators. When threatened, the rainbow blanket octopus unfurls these webs to make itself look larger. If this defense did not work, the animal sheds these webs, confounding predators and allowing it to escape safely. It will regrow new “blankets” later on.

Aside from the web, the rainbow blanket octopus has a lot of methods to ward off predators. It produces ink, just like other octopuses. It can also change color to camouflage with its surroundings. The most interesting one, it is immune to the venomous stings of the Portuguese man-of-war. It rips off the Portuguese man-of-war’s tentacles and uses them as a whip to stun its predators as well as its prey.

The rainbow blanket octopus shows sexual dimorphism. Only females have enormous webs. Females are also 40,000 times larger than males, making this critter the biggest gender size discrepancy in any kind of animal. Females can reach a length of over 6.5 feet, but males can only grow a fraction of an inch. As you can see in the video above, there is a couple of rainbow blanket octopuses, however owing to his size, the male is almost invisible.

2. Nudibranchs

The nudibranchs are slug-like sea mollusks known for their striking appearance, due to their coloration and the array of soft, spikey outgrowths on their back. The color serves as a defense mechanism to warn predators that they are poisonous to eat. The soft spikes on their back, known as cerata, are the respiratory gills of these mollusks.

Nudibranchs live in the shallow intertidal to the deep sea. They are carnivores foraging for sponges, corals, and even other nudibranchs. There are over 3000 species of nudibranchs in the world, and the Philippines is home to over 25% of them.

3. Palawan Peacock-Pheasant

The Palawan peacock-pheasants (Polyplectron napoleonis) is a species of medium-sized bird endemic to the humid forests of Palawan Island. This species can grow up to 45 to 55 cm tall. It exhibits sexual dimorphism, which means that males and females can be distinguished.

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Females are entirely brown, with a grayish head, and are slightly smaller than males. Males, on the other hand, have a black body and iridescent electric blue wings; they also have a white face, a red patch around the eyes, a metallic green mohawk-crest on the head, and a short tail with electric blue eye-spots.

This endangered species is known for its courtship display. A male Palawan peacock-pheasant raises his gorgeous tail in a fan-shaped arrangement to attract a female. He also spreads out the feathers on the throat. During courtship, the male also feeds the female. The Palawan peacock-pheasant is monogamous, with both male and female raising their young.

A Flying Dragon

A Flying Dragon

4. Flying Dragons

There are many different species of flying dragon. These species fall within the Draco genus of the agama family (Agamidae). The flying dragons, also known as flying lizards, are small lizards that have wing-like membrane extensions on the sides of their body which are formed by an unusually, oversized ribs.

They use these membranes to scare away predators. When threatened, they unfold these winglike structures to appear larger. They also use them to glide and move from one tree to another. Despite their conventional moniker, they actually glide rather than fly.

They are insectivores feeding mainly on ants and termites. The size of their bodies varies depending on the species, but they can reach lengths of up to 8 inches. They are found in the tropical rainforest of Southeast Asia and Southern India. The Philippines has twelve species of flying dragons, including the Draco mindanensis, Draco reticulatus, and Draco volans.

5. Orchid Mantis

The orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) is a beautiful praying mantis that can reach a length of 7 cm. It gets its name from its resemblance to a flower. It has a pink and white body and lobed legs that resemble petals. It usually lives on flowers to camouflage with blooms and avoid being seen by its both prey and enemies. It also sways back and forth as it moves, mimicking wind-blown flowers.

6. Mandarinfish

Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus) is a colorful marine bottom-dwelling fish belonging to the dragonet family, Callionymidae. It can be found in coral reefs at depths of up to 18 meters. The body is covered in a variety of patch, stripe, and spot patterns of various colors.

At the first glance, it appears to be a fish painted with abstract art. The coloration serves as camouflage as well as a warning to predators that it is toxic to consume. This species does not have any scales. Instead, its skin secretes toxic mucus, which helps in repelling enemies and parasites.

The mandarinfish is well-known for its enchanting courtship dance. It occurs just as dusk falls. The male makes flashy movements to impress a female. When the female feels admired, she places her pectoral fin on the male's pectoral fin, as if they were holding hands. Next, they both slowly rise and then swim rapidly downward, accompanied by spawning clouds of sperms and eggs.

Mandarinfish is just one of the most beautiful fishes in the Philippines. If you want to see more beautiful fish in the country, click here to read “12 of the Most Beautiful Fish in the Philippines.”

7. Philippine Pangolin

Pangolins, sometimes known as scaly anteaters, are the only mammals in the world with hard, plate-like scales that cover their bodies. The animal's scales serve as a protective armor or shield against predators. The edges of the scales are also razor-sharp, giving the opponents an added layer of protection. When frightened, pangolins roll into a solid ball to cover their sensitive body parts.

The Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensisis) is the only pangolin species that can be found in the Philippines. It's endemic to the island of Palawan. It can reach a length of up to 5 feet and 10 inches including the tail. This Philippine pangolin is distinguishable from other pangolins by having a smaller head, scales, and body-to-tail ratio. Its scales are also come in a variety of colors, ranging from brown to yellow to olive.

Source and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Errah Caunca

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