Mouse-Shaped Flowers And Dragon-Like Lizards Discovered In Mekong River, Asia

First Posted: Dec 22, 2016 03:20 AM EST

Last year, scientists made remarkable discoveries in Mekong River, Southeast Asia, which marked the identification of 163 new animal and plant species including a newt and a snake that closely resemble the Klingon in Star Trek and Ziggy Stardust named after David Bowie's song, along with new plant species.

Mekong region in Southeast Asia is one of nature's biological treasures, which hosts rich biodiversity, comprising of extremely rare and unusual creatures like the Klingon Star Trek and Ziggy Stardust, which have never been identified or studied anywhere else in the world. The region is also considered a magnet for national and international world's conservation scientists, who strive to explore, identify and document these new species.

In 2015 alone, nine amphibians, 11 fish, 14 reptiles, three mammals and more than 120 plant species were identified, which included mouse-shaped flowers and dragon-like lizards, an orange-eyed frog, Klingon Star Trek newt and Ziggy Stardust snake with incandescent rainbow scales. All these creatures have never been sighted in any other region in the world, reported The Christian Science Monitor.

In addition, to the scientists who are pulled toward the Mekong River for scientific research, the rich biodiversity of the region also attracts hunters and poachers, due to which illegal wildlife trading is increasing in the region. In an effort to stop this, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) published a report, which highlighted the incredible diversity of the region including the Klingon Star Trek newt and Ziggy Stardust snake that need to be protected, according to Live Science.

Jimmy Borah, Wildlife Programme Manager of WWF-Greater Mekong, said that, "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." He also further said that, "These scientists, the unsung heroes of the planet, know they are racing against time to ensure that these newly discovered species are protected and saved."

The WWF report highlighted that many new species are yet to be studied in the region as well, and in average, two new species are discovered each week. Relentless human activity poses a big threat to their future, because habitat destruction and poaching may lead to extinction even before these unusual creatures viz. Klingon Star Trek and Ziggy Stardust are found and described.

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