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Color-Changing Thorny Frog, Fanged Bat among 139 New Species Discovered in the Greater Mekong

color changing thorny frog

The Color-Changing Thorny Frog is among the new Mekong species discoveries.

A soul-sucking ‘dementor’ wasp, a bat with long fangs, a stealthy wolf snake, a color-changing thorny frog, and the world’s second longest insect are among the 139 new species discovered by scientists in the Greater Mekong region in 2014, according to a new report released by WWF.

Ninety plants, 23 reptiles, 16 amphibians, nine fish, and one mammal are detailed in the report Magical Mekong—and many of them are already at risk. They include a feathered coral whose nearest relatives live in Africa, four moths named after Thai princesses, a color-changing thorny frog and two orchids discovered already being traded. This brings the total number of new species discovered in the Greater Mekong—a region that includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam—to 2,216 between 1997 and 2014. That’s an average of three new species discovered a week.

“The Greater Mekong’s unique ecosystems are truly the gift that keeps on giving, providing sanctuary for a treasure trove of species and critical benefits for millions of people across the region,” Teak Seng, Conservation Director for WWF-Greater Mekong, said. “As Magical Mekong reveals, the scientists behind these discoveries feel they are racing against the clock to document these species and strongly advocate for their protection before they disappear.”

WWF believes that increased capacity of and support for rangers are urgently needed to protect these wonders and their habitats. A commitment to developing a green economy that prioritizes protecting key wildlife habitat is also crucial, with countries cooperating across borders to make sustainable decisions on issues such as where to construct large infrastructure, including roads and dams.