A carnivorous plant in the Kampot province, a small fish with vampire fangs, and a frog that sounds like a cricket (Leptolalax applebyi) were among 145 new species discovered last year in the Greater Mekong area.
These finds demonstrate “the Greater Mekong's immense biodiversity” and “the fragility of this region's diverse habitats and species,” said the Cambodia Daily, quoting a WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature report, on October 6.
Three were found in Cambodia, while 58 were in Thailand. The Mekong river region spans the area from Burma to China's southern Yunnan province to Vietnam.
The three species in Cambodia were plants, including the carnivorous Nepenthes bokorensis, which can grow up to seven metres. Its red, insect-trapping pitchers can touch 25 cm. Though a recent “discovery” by scientists, in the Bokor Hill in Kampot province, it is known locally. Its roots are boiled as a concoction to ease body pain.
Scientists are making moves to include Nepenthes bokorensis inthe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because of development at Bokor Hill. The other plants, discovered in Cambodia in 2009, were a tropical herb found in the Ratanakkiri province and a yellow-flowered plant, in northern Cambodia and south-eastern Thailand. In Vietnam's Quang Nam province, the frog was initially heard, then later located, while the fish, the Dracula minnow, which grows to a maximum 17 mm, was found in a small stream in Burma.
Between 1997 and 2008, 1,231 species have been discovered by science across this region, according to WWF.