367 exotic new species were discovered in the greater Mekong region in Southeast Asia. These new discoveries were published in a report titled Mysterious Mekong released by World Wildlife Fund on 5 June 2014.
Among the new species discovered in the Greater Mekong in 2012 and 2013, there are 290 plants, 24 fish, 21 amphibians, 28 reptiles, 1 bird and 3 mammals.
The report also highlighted that Greater Mekong region forms one of the five most threatened biodiversity hotspots in the world.
Some of the reasons which have added pressure on the region, according to the report, include rapid unsustainable development, poorly planned infrastructure, uncontrolled and non-transparent extractive activities, agricultural expansion and rampant wildlife trade. Warmer temperatures, and more extreme floods, droughts, and storms as a result of climate change, only exacerbate these pressures.
Some of the important species discovered
• The Cambodian Tailorbird (Orthotomus chaktomuk)
• The White-head Burmese viper (Azemiops kharini) in the Yunnan, Guangxi and Vietnam
• A new freshwater pufferfish (Tetraodon palustris) in the Mekong Basin of Thailand
• Laotian giant flying squirrel (Biswamoyopterus biswasi)
• The Hunch Bat of Vietnam (Hipposideros griffini)
• Rainbow Lizard (Lygosoma veunsaiensis) from Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia
• Helen’s Flying Frog (Rhacophorus helenae) from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
• New ‘penis head’ fish (Phallostethus cuulong) from Mekong Delta region of Vietnam
• Zero-masked Water Snake (Homalopsis mereljcoxi) from Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam
• Blind Huntsman Spider (Sinopoda scurion) from Laos
• Skydiving Parachute Gecko (Ptychozoon kaengkrachanense) from Thailand
• Fishzilla Walking Snakehead fish (Channa longistomata) from Vietnam
About Greater Mekong Region
The Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia, through which the Mekong River flows, consists of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Yunnan province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China.
The region is home to some of the planets most charismatic and endangered wild species, including the tiger, Asian elephant, Irrawaddy dolphin, saola, and Mekong giant catfish.
Between 1997 and 2011 an incredible 1710 new organisms were described by science in these landscapes.