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Breathing Fish and Sneezing Monkey Among the Many New Species Found In the Himalayas

Oct 08, 2015 11:41 AM EDT
Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey
Snub-nosed monkeys were among the 200 new species discovered in the Himalayas.
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons )

Over the past five years more than 200 new species have been found in the Eastern Himalayas. Among the vast array of animals were 133 plants, 26 fish, 10 new amphibians, one reptile, one bird and one mammal. Some of the species found had very unique characteristics, according to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report that references its scientific studies at the end.

The dwarf walking snakehead fish, for example, was found in West Bengal, India. This fish breathes air and can survive on land for up to four days. When it comes ashore its movements are clumsy and similar to that of slithering snakes.  

"Snakeheads are valued food fishes in their native habitats. Thirty-six species are currently recognized within the genus Channa. The new species C. andrao has so far been collected only at its type locality in West Bengal," the researchers said in their report.

This was not the only odd individual of the bunch. The discoveries also include a new bird named the spotted wren-babbler, a snub-nosed monkey, a striking blue-eyed frog and a jewel-like snake, according to the WWF.

The snub-nosed monkey, also nicknamed "Snubby," was found in a remote forest of northern Myanmar. This monkey often gets rainwater in its upturned nose, which causes the animal to sneeze. To avoid this problem, the monkeys tuck their heads between their knees on rainy days, the researchers noted in their report.

These newly-discovered plants and animals signify that there is still much to be learned about the many diverse species that live around the world. However, the report also notes that biologically diverse places such as the Eastern Himalayas are seriously threatened by climate change.

"The challenge is to preserve our threatened ecosystems before these species, and others yet unknown are lost," Sami Tornikoski, leader of the WWF Living Himalayas Initiative, said in a statement. "The Eastern Himalayas is at a crossroads. Governments can decide whether to follow the current path towards fragile economies that do not fully account for environmental impacts, or take an alternative path towards greener, more sustainable economic development."

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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