World Wide Fund for Nature announces 139 new flora and fauna species found in Greater Mekong Subregion, 70 of which are in Vietnam
According to the latest report from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) there were 70 new species of flora and fauna discovered in Vietnam last year, with many of the fauna being listed as endangered.
There were 139 new species discovered in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) as a whole, which takes in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and Yunnan province in China. Ninety were plants, 23 reptiles, 16 amphibians, nine fish and one mammal.
Vietnam is also home to the world’s second-longest insect, which has a length of 54 centimeters. Its scientific name is Phryganistria Heusii Yentuensis and it was found in the north of the country and surprisingly close to humans, at just 1 km from villages and rice fields.
“We now have more than 150 new species of stick insects to describe, only from Vietnam, after a few expeditions, so imagine what there remains to be discovered,” said Dr. Jerome Constant, the leader of the group that discovered the insect.
There were also color-changing thorny frogs, known as Graxicalus Lumarius, found in remote mountain forests in central Vietnam. The adult frogs are a distinctive combination of pink and yellow, at least at night. During the day their yellow backs fade to a duller brownish hue.
Why and how the frog changes color is unclear, though the change itself is not uncommon. “As soon as I saw the spikes on the back of the male I knew it was different to any other frog I’d seen before,” said Dr. Jodi Rowley, a member of the team.
Another notable species is a Long-Fanged Bat called Hypsugo Dolichodon, which was also found in Laos. Its extra-large fangs may have evolved to allow it to prey upon larger or harder-shelled insects than its smaller-toothed relatives. It can either live in caves, like its more common relatives, or be a forest dweller, according to Dr. Tamas Gorfol, one of the discoverers.
The number of new species found in the GMS has increased to 2,216 from 1997 to 2014. Three new species are found each week on average.