Over 1,000 species discovered in Southeast Asia

This is a video about the WWF Greater Mekong Programme.

From the World Wildlife Fund:

Over 1,000 species discovered in the Greater Mekong in past decade

Fish, plants, amphibians and mammals — including an ‘extinct’ rock rat — are under threat from dams, roads and development

WASHINGTON, DC, December 15, 2008 — A rat thought extinct for 11 million years and a hot-pink, cyanide-producing dragon millipede are among a thousand new species discovered in the Greater Mekong Region of Southeast Asia in the last decade, according to a new report launched by World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

First Contact in the Greater Mekong reports that 1068 species were discovered or newly identified by science between 1997 and 2007 – which averages two new species a week. This includes the world’s largest huntsman spider [see also here], with a foot-long leg span and the Annamite Striped Rabbit, one of several new mammal species found here. New mammal discoveries are a rarity in modern science.

While most species were discovered in the largely unexplored jungles and wetlands, some were first found in the most surprising places. The Laotian rock rat, for example, thought to be extinct 11 million years ago, was first encountered by scientists in a local food market, while the Siamese Peninsula pit viper was found slithering through the rafters of a restaurant in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand.

“This report cements the Greater Mekong’s reputation as a biological treasure trove — one of the world’s most important storehouses of rare and exotic species,” said Dekila Chungyalpa, Director of the WWF-US Greater Mekong Program. “Scientists keep peeling back the layers and uncovering more and more wildlife wonders.”

The findings, highlighted in this report, include 519 plants, 279 fish, 88 frogs, 88 spiders, 46 lizards, 22 snakes, 15 mammals, 4 birds, 4 turtles, 2 salamanders and a toad. The region comprises the six countries through which the Mekong River flows including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. It is estimated thousands of new invertebrate species were also discovered during this period, further highlighting the region’s immense biodiversity. …

Sixteen of WWF’s Global 200 ecoregions, critical landscapes of international biological importance, are found in the Greater Mekong. These landscapes are home to an estimated 20,000 plant species, 1,200 bird species, 800 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 430 mammal species, including Asian elephants, tigers and one of only two populations of the critically endangered Javan rhino in the world. In addition to rare Irrawaddy dolphins, the Mekong River basin is estimated to house at least 1,300 species of fish, including the Mekong giant catfish, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish. By length, the Mekong is the richest waterway for biodiversity on the planet, fostering more species per unit area than the Amazon. Many of the species occur nowhere else on Earth.

See also here.

A seven metre tall carnivorous plant, a fish with vampire fangs, and a frog that sounds like a cricket are among 145 new species described last year in the Greater Mekong, reaffirming the region as a one of the most significant biological hotspots on the planet ahead of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan: here.

4 thoughts on “Over 1,000 species discovered in Southeast Asia


    Mighty Mekong River Must Forever Flow Freely

    By Ecological Internet’s Rainforest Portal with Rainforest Rescue
    http://www.rainforestportal.org/ & http://www.regenwald.org/international/englisch/
    June 28, 2009


    The mighty Mekong River in Southeast Asia faces a devastating threat from eleven new proposed dams. If even one of the dams are built in Cambodia, Laos or Thailand; they would block major fish migrations and otherwise ecologically disrupt this vitally important river, placing at risk millions of people who depend upon the Mekong for their food security and income. Help “Save the Mekong” and this affinity campaign in seeking to pressure regional governments to shelve the plans.




  2. Fanged frog, 162 other new species found in Mekong

    AP Environmental Writer

    In this photo taken Jan. 1, 2008, released by The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) a Cat Ba leopard gecko, known by its scientific name Goniurosaurus catbaensis, is seen in Cat Ba Island National Park in northern Vietnam. This species was among 163 new species discovered last year in Greater Mekong region, a biologically rich region that stretches over five countries and borders the mighty Mekong River, an environmental group said Friday, Sept. 25, 2009.
    Thomas Ziegler, WWF Greater Mekong

    This photo taken Jan. 1, 2008, released by The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) shows a Khorat big-mouthed frog, known by its scientific name Limnonectes megastomias at an unknown location in Thailand. The fanged frog was among 163 new species discovered last year in Greater Mekong region, a biologically rich region that stretches over five countries and borders the mighty Mekong River, an environmental group said Friday, Sept. 25, 2009. This 2008 photo released by The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) shows a tiger-striped pitviper or Cryptelytrops honsonensis, in Hon Son Island in Rach Gia Bay in the Kien Giang Province of southern Vietnam. The reptile was among 163 new species discovered last year in Greater Mekong region, a biologically rich region that stretches over five countries and borders the mighty Mekong River, an environmental group said Friday, Sept. 25, 2009.

    A gecko with leopard-like stripes on its body and a fanged frog that eats birds were among 163 new species discovered last year in the Mekong River region of Southeast Asia, an environmental group said Friday.

    WWF International said that in 2008 scientists discovered 100 plants, 28 fish, 18 reptiles, 14 amphibians, 2 mammals and 1 bird species in the region. That is in addition to the 1,000 new species catalogued there from 1997 to 2007.

    “After millennia in hiding these species are now finally in the spotlight, and there are clearly more waiting to be discovered,” said Stuart Chapman, director of the WWF Greater Mekong Program.

    Researchers working for WWF warned that the effects of climate change, including an upsurge in droughts and floods, threaten the diverse habitat that supports these species.

    “Some species will be able to adapt to climate change, many will not, potentially resulting in massive extinctions,” Chapman said in a statement. “Rare, endangered and endemic species like those newly discovered are especially vulnerable because climate change will further shrink their already restricted habitats.”

    Among the stars in this new list was a fanged frog in eastern Thailand. Given the scientific name Limnonectes megastomias, the frog lies in wait along streams for prey including birds and insects. Scientists believe it uses its fangs during combat with other males.

    Another unusual discovery was the leopard gecko found on Cat Ba Island in northern Vietnam. Goniurosaurus catbaensis has large, orange-brown cat-like eyes, and leopard stripes down the length of its body.

    Lee Grismer, of La Sierra University in California, said he found the gecko and was “engrossed” in capturing it “when my son pointed out that my hand was on a rock mere inches away from the head of a pit viper.”

    “We caught the snake and the gecko and they both proved to be new species,” he said.

    Other new species found were a tube-nosed bat named Murina harpioloides that lives in southeastern Vietnam and a new bird species called the Nonggang babbler found in the karst rainforest on the Chinese-Vietnamese border, an area of limestone fissures, sinkholes and underground streams.

    Experts said a range of factors contributed to the upsurge in new species including better access to regions that have seen decades of war and political unrest and governments stepping up spending on research to protect and identify plants and animals.

    The discoveries have been published in peer-reviewed journals and the WWF simply compiled the findings to publicize what it says could otherwise go unnoticed.

    The WWF called for efforts to ensure the new species are protected, by preserving their habitat and the river networks that are a foundation of the region’s ecosystem.

    Posted on Fri, Sep. 25, 2009 02:27 AM


  3. Pingback: New snub-nosed monkey species discovered in Burma | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Partridges, pheasants, tit at Pamuling monastery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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