According to WWF International, 163 new species have been discovered in the last year in  Mekong River region of Southeast Asia.

Among them are 100 plants, 28 fish, 18 reptiles, 14 amphibians, two mammals and one bird species, including a leopard-spotted gecko and a frog with fangs that Nonggang-babblerlunches on birds.

The tally combines with one thousand new species that were discovered  in the same region from 1997 to 2007.

Researchers assume that climate change, floods and droughts, as well as poaching, pollution and habitat destruction will have a great impact on these new species.

Stuart Chapman, director of the WWF Greater Mekong Program, believes that only  some will be able to adapt to some of these, specifically climate change.

“Rare, endangered and endemic species like those newly discovered are especially vulnerable because climate change will further shrink their already restricted habitat,” Chapman added in a statement.

Along with the fanged frog,  Limnonectes megastomias, and the Cat Ba leopard gecko, Goniurosaurus catbaensis, is a bird that doesn’t seem to want to fly. The Nonggang babbler seemed to only use its wings when frightened.

“We are seeing more reports of new discoveries and populations because this region is relatively poorly known, particularly when it comes to cryptic and less fashionable groups like fish and amphibians,” said Simon Mahood, a conservation adviser for BirdLife International.

The new growth in species is due to better access to remote regions, as well as those who often were overcome with political and governmental unrest. More research is underway to protect and identify new species.

The WWF plans to publish annual information of new species in the Mekong.


Image: Nonggang babbler courtesy of

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