WASHINGTON World Wildlife Fund scientists said today that the discovery of 11 new animal and plant species in a remote area in central Vietnam underscores the importance of conservation efforts in the ancient tropical forests of the region.
Within the ancient tropical forests of a region known as Vietnams Green Corridor, scientists found a snake, five orchids, and two butterflies as well as three other plants new to science and exclusive to the Annamites Mountain Range. Ten other plant species, including four orchids, are still under examination but also appear to be new species.
Discoveries of so many new species are rare and occur only in very special places like the Green Corridor, said Dr. Chris Dickinson, WWFs chief conservation scientist in the Green Corridor. Several large mammal species were discovered in the 1990s in the same forests so these latest discoveries may be just the tip of the iceberg.
The rainforests of the Central Annamites likely existed as continuous undisturbed forest cover for thousands of years, and, as a result, offer unique habitats for many species, said WWF experts.
The new snake species, called the white-lipped keelback, prefers living by streams where it catches frogs and other small animals. With a beautiful yellow-white stripe sweeping along its head and red dots covering its body, the white-lipped keelback can reach 31 inchesalmost a yard in length.
Three of the new orchid species are entirely leafless, a rarity even among orchids. Containing none of the chlorophyll or green pigment commonly found in plants, these orchids live on decaying matter like many fungal species. The other new plants include an aspidistra which produces a nearly black flower and a newly-discovered species of arum with beautiful yellow flowers. Arum plants have funnel-shaped leaves surrounding the flowers.
The two new butterfly species are among eight discovered in the province since 1996. On
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World Wildlife Fund