Extra Terrestrial! Extraordinary new species discoveries in the Greater Mekong
These species can all be found in a new WWF report, Extra Terrestrial.
© Gabor Csorba
Among the ten species highlighted in the report is the aptly named Beelzebub’s tube-nosed bat, a diminutive but demonic-looking creature known only from Vietnam. Beelzebub’s bat, like two other tube-nosed bats discovered in 2011, depends on tropical forest for its survival and is especially vulnerable to deforestation. In just four decades, 30 per cent of the Greater Mekong’s forests have disappeared.
© Jodi J. L. Rowley/Australian Museum
A new species of tree frog discovered in the high-altitude forests of northern Vietnam has a complex call that makes it sound more like a bird than a typical frog. While most male frogs attract females with repetitive croaks, Quang’s tree frog spins a new tune each time. No two calls are the same, and each individual mixes clicks, whistles and chirps in a unique order.
© George Zug, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles, National Museum of Natural History-Smithsonian
A short-tailed python species was found in a streambed in the Kyaiktiyo Wildlife Sanctuary in Myanmar. The elusive pygmy python (Python kyaiktiyo) has not been found again despite repeated surveys, so little is known of its ecology, distribution or threats. However, the 1.5 metre-long python is likely at risk from threats faced by other pythons, including habitat loss, and illegal hunting for meat, skins, and the exotic pet trade.
© Ng Heok Hee
A new ‘walking’ catfish species (Clarias gracilentus), discovered in freshwater streams on the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc, can move across land using its pectoral fins to stay upright while it wiggles forward with snake-like movements. And a dazzling miniature fish (Boraras naevus), just 2cm in length, was found in southern Thailand and named after the large dark blotch on its golden body (naevus is Latin for blemish).
Extra Terrestrial is the fifth in a series of reports highlighting new species discoveries in the Greater Mekong region. The initial report First Contact was released in December 2008 and showcased the discovery of over 1000 new species discoveries in the region between 1997 and 2007. For details on the species discovery reports released by WWF-Greater Mekong, go to: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/greatermekong/discovering_the_greater_mekong/species/new_species/