Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New species from the wild Mekong

New species from the wild Mekong

Sights are not all - this frog was found by its cricket-like call rather than any spectacular colours. The Mekong is hope to a vast diversity of life, but WWF warns amphibians are more vulnerable than others to climatic change in the region.

One of 10 new reptiles, this snake belongs to the Elapid group, which are mostly venomous - including the king cobra. Coluberoelaps nguyenvansangi, however, is a very different beast, lacking in fangs
A similar hope applies to this bat, Murina eleryi, which also populates the forests of remote karst landscape - this time in Vietnam. It is one of five mammals newly described in 2009.

The Bare-faced bulbul was first noted 15 years ago but only recently has it been traced to its home in the karst limestones of Laos. Conservationists hope that its remote location will keep it safe from encroachment.

Also newly described in 2009 was Musa chunii, a wild banana. So far it has only been found in one nature reserve in China's Yunnan Province, and there are reports from neighbouring Burma.

The most dramatic new species is this pitcher-plant, Nepenthes bokorensis. The plant climbs up to seven metres, with the pitchers reaching a length of 25cm, and consuming ants and other insects. The roots are used to ease the pains of childbirth.

The new finds include about 10 species of Oreoglanis sucker-fish from Thailand. These use their underbodies and fins to form a sucker, enabling them to cling to rocks even in fast streams. Scientists suspect similar species exist in neighbouring countries.

The Greater Mekong region of southeast Asia yielded 145 species new to science during 2009, according to a report from conservation group WWF. The group is involved in an ongoing project to document wildlife in the region.

Source : BBC

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