Analyn Cabras is a biologist. She studies living things. She’s also a taxonomist. She puts living things into categories. Cabras is a conservationist who works to protect living things. And she’s a coleopterist. That means, she studies beetles. 

Studying beetles is a big field. Earth is home to more than 400,000 species of beetles. They can be found on every continent but Antarctica. They can live where it’s hot or cold. They can live where it’s wet or dry. Some can barely be seen. Others are almost too big to hold in one hand. 

Cabras does her research in mountainous regions on the Philippine island Mindanao. 

This beetle is about the size of Cabras' thumbnail.

Cabras looks for beetles on Mindanao. It is an island in the Philippines. In the rainforests, she sneaks up on small shiny beetles from the weevil family. 

“You have to be very, very careful,” Cabras says. “If they sense you coming, they fall to the ground.” Then, they’re difficult to find. 



Cabras uses a magnifying glass to get a closer look at a beetle.

Island Surprises

The island keeps her busy. Little is known about what lives there. “Here in Mindanao, we have so many mountains which are still unexplored,” she says. Cabras sees her job as recording what is there. She looks at how the beetles relate to each other and the world. 

So far, her work has been full of surprises. “It feels like every time we go into the field, we discover at least one new species,” she says. Cabras and her team found four new species in one small stretch. 

It sounds simple, but you have to know what to look for. And you have to be patient. At first, Cabras didn’t find much. But, the more she went into the field, the more she found. 

Know Your Scientist

In her work studying beetles, Analyn Cabras plays many roles: 


an expert on living organisms


a person who studies or collects beetles


a person who acts for the protection of the environment and wildlife


an expert in the relations of organisms to one another and to their natural surroundings


a biologist that names and groups organisms into categories