- A rainbow-headed snake, a tiny frog and a lizard with dragon-like horns are among more than 150 new species confirmed by scientists last year in the ecologically diverse but threatened Mekong region.
- Winding its way from the Tibetan plateau through the mountains and jungles of Southeast Asia, the Mekong river helps sustain one of the most diverse regions on the planet.
- “The Greater Mekong region is a magnet for the world’s conservation scientists because of the incredible diversity of species that continue to be discovered here.
- The Greater Mekong region — which includes southwestern China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar — is under intense pressure from dam and road building as well as a thriving illegal wildlife trade.
- Among the most eye-catching are Parafimbrios lao , a snake found in the limestone karsts of northern Laos whose scales reflect rainbow-like colours around its head.
- On the Thai tourist island of Phuket, which has seen huge development in recent decades, scientists found a lizard ( Acanthosaura phuketensis ) with a fearsome-looking ridge of horns down its head and back.
- And in the country’s northern Chiang Rai province researchers found a newt (Tylototriton anguliceps ) with dazzling red and black markings that they likened to a Klingon’s head from the Star Trek franchise.
- In Cambodia and Vietnam, a new frog species that could fit on a finger tip was also discovered.
Source: The Hindu