These Great New Species Were Just Discovered

‘Yin-yang’ frog (Leptobrachium leucops),

Photo: Jodi J. L. Rowley/Australian Museum

The adorable frog to the right is one of several great new species just announced in the World Wildlife Federation’s annual Greater Mekong survey.

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In all, there were 126 new species (82 plants, 13 fish, 21 reptiles, 5 amphibians and 5 mammals) discovered in the region in 2011, which includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the south-western Chinese province of Yunnan.

Check out the Extra Terrestrial report [PDF] for more information on 10 of these great species. The WWF hopes to spur conservation by highlighting the diversity of amazing species in the area. 

“While the 2011 discoveries affirms the Mekong as a region of astonishing biodiversity, many new species are already struggling to survive in shrinking habitats,” Nick Cox, of the WWF, said in a press release. “Only by investing in nature conservation, especially protected areas, and developing greener economies, will we see these new species protected and keep alive the hope of finding other intriguing species in years to come.”

A new species of snake called the ruby-eyed green pit viper (Trimeresurus rubeus) has been discovered in forests near Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam's Cat Tien National Park is a stronghold for Trimeresurus rubeus, which inhabits a rather small geographic range, where pressures on forests are high.

This sweet singing frog (Gracixalus quangi) chirps like a bird! While most male frogs attract females with repetitive croaks, this little guy spins a new tune each time. No two calls are the same, and each individual mixes clicks, whistles and chirps in a unique order. It was discovered in the high-altitude forests of northern Vietnam.

This new species of Leptobrachium, the 'Yin-yang' frog, was discovered in southern Vietnam. Its striking black and white eyes are unique in the genus. Leptobrachium leucops measures between 3.8 and 4.5 centimeters long and is known only at elevations 1,558 to 1,900 meters above sea level in wet evergreen and cloud forest habitats.

This flower is the the Thick-spiked Coelogyne. Despite its thorny name, this organism is pure-white, elegant, and majestic. Native to Thailand.

This frog, Theloderma palliatum, was found in Vietnam.

This extraordinary two-legged skink was discovered in central Thailand. It is the first skink (and only the second species of terrestrial reptile in the world) to have forelimbs but no hind limbs.

This 1.5-meter-long python was found in a small dry streambed in the Kyaiktiyo Wildlife Sanctuary in Myanmar. Its mountainous habitat, straddling the Thai-Myanmar border, is known as the Dawna-Tenasserim Landscape — one of the highest priority conservation areas for tigers and Asian elephants globally. Given the high value of pythons in the international pet trade, and the beauty and rarity of this new species, Python kyaiktiyo is very likely to be at immediate risk.

Another new Vietnamese frog species, Theloderma nebulosum.

This is the vibrant iridescent blue skink, Larutia nubisilvicola, discovered in Thailand.

This frog is named Leptolalax bidoupensis, and was also discovered in Vietnam.

Now, learn what happens when animals are infected with mind-controlling parasites.

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