Treasure trove of 1,000 newly discovered species
A rat thought to beextinct for 11 million years, a spider with a foot-long legspan, and a hot pink cyanide-producing "dragon millipede" are among the thousand newly discovered species in the largely unexplored Mekong Delta region.
The region, including parts of Vietnam and five other countries, is home to 1,068 species found between 1997 and 2007, as per a World Wildlife Fund report released this week.
Some of the creatures were not lurking in fertile floodplains or tropical foliage.
A scientist visiting an outdoor restaurant was startled to see a Laotian rock rat among the nearby wildlife. The hairy, nocturnal, thick-tailed rat, which resembles a squirrel, had been thought for centuries to be extinct.
"There is a certain amount of shock because our researchers will sometimes see something that doesn't fit anything they know," said Dekila Chungyalpa, Director of the Fund's Mekong Program. "They run through a catalogue of wildlife in their brain, asking themselves, 'Have I seen this?'".
Perhaps a more startling discovery than the rat was a bright green pit viper researchers spotted slithering through the rafters of a restaurant in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand.
Posted by: Kelly