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208 New Species Discovered in Southeast Asia

A psychedelic gecko [Cnemaspis psychedelica] is seen on this undated handout released World Wildlife Fund, December 12, 2011.

An international conservation group says 208 previously unknown species of flora and fauna were discovered last year within the biologically-diverse ecosystems of Southeast Asia.

In its newly-published report, the World Wildlife Fund [WWF] says researchers in 2010 identified 145 new plants, 28 reptiles, 25 fish, seven amphibians, two mammals and one bird in the Greater Mekong region, which includes Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and parts of southwestern China.

The menagerie of new species includes a snub-nosed monkey; a tiny bird with a distinctive - and loud - call; a bizarrely-patterned gecko; a fish that resembles a small pickle; a self-cloning lizard. Among the foliage discoveries are five different kinds of carnivorous plants.

The new discoveries add to the almost 1,400 new species identified in the same region from 1997 to 2009.

The forests, wetlands and freshwater ecosystems of the Greater Mekong region are among the most bio-diverse in the world, but the WWF says the area also is among the world’s top five most ecologically threatened.