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Fri Oct 24 18:11:19 SAST 2014

'Yin and yang' frog amongst new species found in Vietnam

Sapa dpa | 18 December, 2012 06:49
A visually stunning ‘yin-yang’ frog (Leptobrachium leucops), just one of five new amphibian species discovered in the region in 2011.
Image by: © Jodi J. L. Rowley/Australian Museum/ WWF

A "yin and yang" frog and a fish that can walk are among dozens of newly discovered species in Vietnam, conservationists say.

However habitat loss and poaching are making their survival uncertain.

Scientists discovered 36 new species in Vietnam last year and 126 in the Greater Mekong region, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said.

Among the new discoveries is a catfish on Phu Quoc island, Clarias gracilentus, which can move across land using its pectoral fins, the environmental group said.

A frog with striking black and white patterned eyes resembling the yin and yang symbol in Chinese philosophy was found in southern Vietnam. The Leptobrachium leucops frog lives in wet, evergreen forests, the report said.

However, issues like deforestation and overfishing could threaten the survival of these new species.

"While the 2011 discoveries affirms the Mekong as a region of astonishing biodiversity, many new species are already struggling to survive in shrinking habitats," said Nick Cox, manager of the WWF's Greater Mekong species programme.

"The terrifying drop in the number of wild tigers - 70 per cent in just over a decade - and the recent local extinction of the Javan rhino in Vietnam in 2010 are urgent reminders that unique creatures are being lost at an alarming rate due to human pressures," he said.

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