Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A thousand new species from SE Asia

This blog has covered some new species from Southeast Asia, including a 30-cm spider and a startling pink millipede, but just how many species have been discovered in the valley of the Mekong river, which flows through much of that region? The WWF added them all up and found there have been over a thousand in the last decade. Think about that. This astonishing number tells us that, despite all the environmental harm we've caused, a great deal of the natural world is still out there waiting to be explored and classified. The link above includes photos of some examples, like the brilliant green viper Trimeresurus gumprechti (one of 22 new snakes), the Laotian rock rat, and a tree frog, Chiromantis samkosensis, which is colorful not just on the outside, but on the inside, thanks to its turquoise bones and green blood (!)
Oh, and the viper was spotted crawling through the rafters of a restaurant. Seriously. That ought to count some points off a Michelin Guide rating.

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