A snub-nosed monkey that sneezes when it rains, a walking fish and a jewel-like snake are among more than 200 new species discovered in the eastern Himalayas, according to a new report.
It reveals that 133 new species of plants, 39 invertebrates, 26 fish and 10 amphibians have been found there since 2009 – a scale of discovery which confirms the region, spanning Bhutan, north-east India, Nepal, north Burma and southern Tibet, as among the most biologically diverse in the world.
One new bird – the spotted wren-babbler – was also discovered in the region over the period, as well as one reptile and one mammal species – bringing the total new species discovered in the region in the past 15 years to 550.
The discoveries also include three new species of wild bananas, including the Musa markkui, named after the renowned banana scientist Markku Hakkinen, and Leptobrachuium Bompu, a frog with a striking greyish-blue iris and a black pupil.
The region’s rich diversity – one in 10 of the world’s bird species lives there – is largely down to a landscape of steep mountains and valleys. This has created isolated habitats with many species that are unique to the area, according to the wildlife charity WWF which produced the report.
However, climate change and intensive development is destroying the region’s eco-systems at an alarming level, with only a quarter of its original habitats remaining fully intact, the report said.
“These new discoveries show that there is still a huge amount to learn about the species that share our world. It is a stark reminder that if we don’t act now to protect these fragile eco-systems, untold natural riches could be lost forever,” said WWF-UK’s chief adviser of species Heather Sohl.
“The region is currently facing a wide range of threats and pressures, with climate change by far the most serious. But population growth, deforestation, overgrazing, poaching, the wildlife trade, mining, pollution and hydropower have all contributed to the pressures on the fragile ecosystems in the region,” she added.
One of the more unusual species discovered in recent years is Snubby, the nickname given to Rhinopitecus Strykeri, a black and white snub-nosed monkey which locals claim is easy to find when it is raining. This is because rainwater gets into their upturned noses causing them to sneeze – an eventuality they avoid if they can by sitting with their heads tucked between their knees.
The rarest animals in the world
The rarest animals in the world
1/23 Goblin shark
Dubbed the "alien of the deep", the goblin shark was caught by a commercial fisherman off the coast of Eden, New South Wales. The carcass of the terrifying looking creature was then donated to the Australian Museum in Sydney so that it could be dissected
2/23 Glass frog
Scientists in South America have discovered a brand new species of frog – and he’s a dead ringer for Kermit the frog. Hyalinobatrachium dianae is an inch-long glass frog with identical bright green skin, a translucent belly, and bulging white eyes with black pupils. The new species found by Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center on the Talamanca hills of the country, was named after the senior researcher’s mother Diane and brought the total known species of glass frogs on the island to 14
BBC via YouTube
3/23 Walking fish (climbing perch)
A bizarre and seemingly super-powered fish which can walk out of water and breathe on land for up to six days could spell a 'major disaster' for wildlife, scientists have warned. The aggressive climbing perch, which has lungs as well as gills, has been discovered in northern Australia
4/23 Frilled shark
A rare and terrifying frilled shark has been pulled from the water by fishermen near Lakes Entrance in Victoria, Australia. Also known as the "living fossil", the frilled shark is named for its six pairs of frill-like gills. The shark’s origin dates back 80 million years, and is one of two species that is still alive from this period
5/23 Black Sea Devil anglerfish
Researchers in the US have released what they believe to be the first video footage showing a bizarre-looking Black Sea Devil anglerfish in the wild. As anglerfish live in the deep sea, they are very rarely seen in their natural habitat, and fewer than half a dozen have ever been captured on film or video in the wild, according to experts at the Monterrey Bay Acquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
6/23 Blue lobster
A rare blue lobster was caught off Pine Point in Scarborough, Maine. The crustacean is being donated to the Maine State Aquarium
AP Photo/Meghan LaPlante
7/23 Two-headed dolphin
A con-joined dolphin found on the beach of the Aegean Sea coastal town of Dikili, Izmir province of Turkey
8/23 Conjoined whales
A pair of conjoined gray whale calves have been found off the coast of Mexico, in what scientists believe could be the first discovery of its kind
9/23 Fish-eating spider (Dolomedes facetus)
Dolomedes facetus captured pond fish (genus Xiphophorus) in a garden pond near Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The number of spiders who catch and eat fish is on the rise across the world, scientists believe
Peter Liley, Moffat Beach, Queensland
10/23 Dancing frogs
A frog couple from one of the 14 new species of so-called dancing frogs
AP/Satyabhama Das Biju
Conservationists in New Zealand are celebrating after an extremely rare kakapo chick hatched from a cracked egg held together by nothing more than tape and glue. The bird joins a global kakapo population of just 125 birds
Creative Commons. Photo: jidanchaomian, via Flickr.
12/23 Migaloo the white whale
Migaloo the white whale, sighted at the Bernard Islands
Twitter/Migaloo the Whale
13/23 Domed land snail
Living in complete darkness more than 900 metres below the surface has left this tiny snail with no pigmentation in its shell. Discovered in the caves of western Croatia the Zospeum tholussum is also a slow mover, creeping just a few centimeters each week.
14/23 Leaf-tailed gecko
The mottled colouring on this gecko helps it blend in with the rain forests and rocky habitats of eastern Australia. It also has an extremely wide tail (from which it gets its name) to further confuse predators
15/23 Flying frog
A Giant green flying frog which is among the new species found by scientists in the Greater Mekong region
16/23 Megamouth shark
An extremely rare female deep-water megamouth shark has been caught off the coast of Shizuoka, Japan, and is believed to be only the 58 sighting of the animal on record
17/23 A Maui's dolphin
Fears grow for Maui's dolphins after New Zealand government opens west coast block for oil and gas drilling
A rare goat-sheep hybrid has been born on an Irish farm, much to the surprise of a farmer who said the ‘geep’ is thriving since its birth
Irish Farmers Journal
19/23 Omani owl
An Omani Owl, a species completely new to science
20/23 Albino dolphin
A rare albino calf being herded into Japan's notorious Taiji 'killing' Cove, where hundreds of dolphins are slaughtered during its annual hunt
21/23 Stone curlew
The stone curlew is one of the UK's most threatened birds and has recently returned from their wintering grounds in Africa and Spain
22/23 Mascarene Petrel
A unique photograph has been taken of a bird with a visible egg showing after experts sent to study a critically endangered Mascarene Petrel on a remote Indian Ocean tropical island encountered an undeniably pregnant member of the species
23/23 Albino cobra
A "very dangerous and venomous" albino cobra has been found in a suburban Los Angeles neighbourhood after escaping from a home there
Dept. of Animal Care and Control, County of Los Angeles
The vibrant blue dwarf walking Snakehead fish is another unusual find. Amazingly this fish is able to breathe atmospheric air and can even survive on land for up to four days. And while its movements on land may appear more cumbersome than a smoothly slithering snake, it can writhe and wriggle its way up to a quarter of a mile on wet land between bodies of water.
The newly discovered bejewelled lance-headed pit viper, meanwhile, is emblazoned with an ornate yellow, red and orange pattern that, at first glance, looks like a carefully crafted piece of jewellery.Reuse content