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Walking fish among 211 new species found in Himalayas

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Walking fish among 211 new species found in Himalayas

Thereport24.com Desk:

A sneezing monkey, a walking fish and a jewel-like snake are just some of a biological treasure trove of over 200 new species discovered in the Eastern Himalayas in recent years, according to a new report by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The report, Hidden Himalayas: Asia’s Wonderland released on World Habitat Day maps out scores of new species found by scientists from various organizations including 133 plants, 39 invertebrates, 26 fish, 10 amphibians, one reptile, one bird and one mammal.

The volume and diversity of discoveries, 211 in total between 2009 and 2014, highlight the region as one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth; the discoveries listed equating to an average of 34 new species discovered annually for the past six years.

Some of the most striking discoveries include a vibrant blue dwarf ‘walking’ snakehead fish, which can breathe atmospheric air and survive on land for up to four days, although moving in a manner much clumsier than a slithering snake.

The report details an unfortunate monkey whose upturned nose leads to a sneeze every time the rain falls, and a living gem - the bejeweled lance-headed pit viper, which could pass as a carefully crafted piece of jewellery.


SNUB-NOSED MONKEY RHINOPITHECUS STRYKERI


DWARF 'WALKING' SNAKEHEAD FISH [WWF]


HIMALAYAN LANCE-HEADED PIT VIPER [WWF]


BOMPU LITTER FROG [WWF]


MUSA MARKKUI, A NEW BANANA SPECIES [WWF]


NEW ORCHID SPECIES [WWF]


THE SPOTTED WREN BABBLER [WWF]

The report also underscores the dire threats facing the vibrant ecosystems across a region spanning Bhutan, north-east India, Nepal, north Myanmar and the southern parts of Tibet. The report found that as a consequence of development, only 25% of the original habitats in the region remain intact and hundreds of species that live in the Eastern Himalayas are considered globally threatened.

The region is currently facing a wide range of threats and pressures, with climate change by far the most serious. Population growth, deforestation, overgrazing, poaching, the wildlife trade, mining, pollution and hydropower development have all contributed to the pressures on the fragile ecosystems in the region, the report says.

The stakes are high as the Himalayas are home to at least 10,000 plant species, 300 mammal species, 977 bird species, 176 reptiles, 105 amphibians and 269 types of freshwater fish. In addition to this, between 1998 and 2008 in the Eastern Himalayas, at least 354 new species were discovered.

Ends/thereport24.com/HB/Oct 07, 2015