Monday, 5 October 2015

Sneezing monkeys and walking fish among 200 new Himalayan species discovered - via Mike Playfair


The region’s rich diversity is largely down to a landscape of steep mountains and valleys
Tom bawden Environment Editor 

Monday 5 October 2015 00:09 BST

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.




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