HUNDREDS OF NEW SPECIES FOUND WITHIN THE EASTERN HIMALAYAS

The World Wide Fund for Nature (also known as the World Wildlife Fund) released a new report detailing the new species discovered in the Eastern Himalayas from 2009 to 2014. The report counted 211 new species, which comprise 133 plants, 39 invertebrates, 26 fish, 10 amphibians, one reptile, one bird, and one mammal.

And from a previous report, the WWF notes that between 1998 and 2008 about 354 new species from the Eastern Himalayas were described. One reason scientists have only recently found these species is due to the region’s topography, which creates isolated areas. These new species (which in reality have likely been living there for a really long time, they’re just new to us) will be welcomed by what the report claims as the region’s more than “10,000 plant species, 300 mammal species, 977 bird species, 176 reptiles, 105 amphibians, and 269 freshwater fish.” We’ve highlighted a few of those species in the gallery below.

Blue-eyed Frog (Leptobrachium bompu) Chintan Sheth/WWF The Leptobrachium frogs have a wide variation in eye color. And this species’ eyes are particularly striking. One of ten new frog species discovered, L. bompu was found during heavy rains. And the WWF report notes, “The frogs were docile, found sitting in a crouched position and easily picked up. When disturbed their crawling behavior was laborious. The males are eager singers, with a loud croaking “kek kek-kek-kek”call, which continued even after they had been captured and placed in a bag”
Spotted Wren-babbler (Elachura formosa) Ramki Sreenivasan Conservation India / WWF This little guy was found in dense forests within the region. It’s a wonder it was noticed since it looks very similar to other wrens and wren-babblers. But E. formosa is much more unique than that: It belongs to a family of birds that doesn’t include any other species (at least that we know of yet!). The researchers who found this elusive little bird did so by analyzing the molecular differences in its DNA.
Millipede (Koponenius unicornis) K. Makarov / WWF This little millipede is the westernmost citizen in its family, found in Nepal and India. Its defining features are the 19 segments that make up its body and a “column” from which it gains its name unicornis.
Vibrant blue Dwarf ‘Walking’ Snakehead fish (Channa andrao) Henning Strack Hansen / WWF The species was found in a swamp in West Bengal. Snakehead fish are actually air-breathing fish, despite the fact that they also have gills. The new species in particular has a unique color pattern and less vertebrae than other members of its family.
Snub-nosed Myanmar Monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri) Thomas Geissman via American Journal of Primatology article It’s not often that new mammal species are discovered. But in early 2010, researchers became acquainted with a monkey species that local hunters already knew well. Since the monkeys have an up-turned nose, water tends to trickle when it rains, making them sneeze. To combat this, Snubby tucks its head between its knees whenever it rains.

source: popsci.com By Lindsey Kratochwill

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