Scientists have found 115 new species within the Better Mekong area of Southeast Asia together with a crocodile lizard and a snail-eating turtle that was noticed in a Thai meals market.
The species are revealed in a report, “Stranger Species” launched this week by the Washington, DC-based World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The discoveries, which had been made in 2016, embody two fish, three mammals, 11 amphibians, 11 reptiles and 88 plant species within the space across the Mekong River in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
One of many new species is the Vietnamese crocodile lizard, a medium-sized lizard that lives within the evergreen and freshwater forest habitats of South China and Northern Vietnam. The reptile was found by Professor Dr. Thomas Ziegler and his analysis crew and even options in a comic-strip designed to coach youngsters on the significance of defending lizards. The WWF warns that the lizard is so closely threatened by habitat destruction, coal mining and assortment for the pet commerce that as few as 200 of the people might stay in Vietnam. “That is terrifyingly low,” mentioned Ziegler, within the report.
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The snail-eating turtle was found at an area market in Northeast Thailand. “Dr. Montri Sumontha seen the turtle in two completely different markets and suspected it was a brand new species. He requested the shopkeepers, who mentioned they caught them in a close-by canal, so he bought them to examine,” defined the WWF, in an announcement. Sumontha warns that the turtle is threatened by native infrastructure corresponding to dikes and dams, and has referred to as for defense below Thai regulation.
Different new species embody a mountain horseshoe bat, which was discovered within the evergreen forests of mountainous Laos and Thailand and took 10 years to substantiate as a brand new species. The bat’s distinctive horseshoe-shaped facial construction has prompted comparisons to one of many characters within the well-known cantina scene in “Star Wars,” in keeping with WWF.
Two new mole species and a vibrantly coloured frog had been additionally found in Northern Vietnam, in addition to a brand new fish species in Cambodia.
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The brand new species are simply the newest to be discovered within the Better Mekong. Final yr, a World Wildlife Fund report recognized 163 new species within the area, together with a ‘Klingon newt.’
Between 1997 and 2016, 2,524 new species of vegetation, birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians have been found within the Better Mekong.
“Greater than two new species per week and a couple of,500 prior to now 20 years speaks to how extremely necessary the Better Mekong is to world biodiversity,” mentioned Stuart Chapman, WWF-Better Mekong regional consultant, in an announcement. “Whereas the threats to the area are many, these discoveries give us hope that species from the tiger to the turtle will survive.”
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In a separate announcement this week, the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society mentioned nest of the endangered Asian big softshell turtle has been discovered on a Mekong River sandbar in northeastern Cambodia.
The Related Press contributed to this text. Observe James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers