A 'walking' catfish, a bat out of Hell and one of the world's smallest fish: Creatures among 126 brand new species discovered
Miniature borarus naevus fish is one of over 100 new species discovered in South-East Asia's Greater Mekong regionOther finds include a singing frog, a 'walking' catfish, and a sinister looking bat that has been named after the devilMany new species are struggling to survive in shrinking habitats, World Wide Fund for Nature has warned
21:50 GMT, 18 December 2012
This dazzling miniature fish is one of over 100 weird and wonderful new species that have been discovered in South-East Asia – along with a singing frog, a 'walking' catfish, and a devilish looking bat.
The borarus naevus fish, which measures just 2cm in length, was spotted off the coast of Surat Thani in southern Thailand, and is one of a host of new creatures found in the Greater Mekong region during the course of 2011.
The tiny fish was named for the large dark blotch on the side of its body. Neavus is the latin word for blemish.
'Blemish' fish: The tiny fish, which measures between 15 and 22mm, was discovered 83 km north of Surat Thani in southern Thailand
New discovery: The miniature fish has been named boraras naevus – naevus is the latin word for blemish – after the large blotch on the side of its body
Other discoveries in the region – which takes in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and the Yunnan Province of China – over the year include the aptly named 'murina beelzebub' tube-nosed bat, a demonic looking creature found living in the Bac Huong Hoa nature reserve in central Vietnam's Quang Tri province.
This and all 125 other discoveries in the region last year are detailed in a report from conservation organisation the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), entitled Extra Terrestrial.
Rivalling the bat for the title of weirdest looking discovery is the 'clarias gracilentus' or 'walking' catfish that was found in freshwater streams on the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc.
While the catfish cannot actually walk, it can move over land using its pectoral fins to stay upright while wriggling forwards with snake-like movements.
Devilish: The 'Murina beelzebub' tube-nosed bat, discovered in central Vietnam, was named for its devilish appearance
Slippery customer: The 'walking catfish' was found living in freshwater streams on the island of Phu Quoc off the Vietnamese Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang
New species: While the so-called 'walking catfish' can't actually walk, it has the ability to use its pectoral fins to stay upright while it wriggles forwards using snake-like movements
A new species of tree frog discovered
in the forests of northern Vietnam boasts a complex call that makes it
sound more like a bird than a typical frog. Rather than using repetitive
croaks, the 'sweet singing' frog spins a new tune each time, with each
individual frog mixing clicks, whistles and chirps in a unique order.
Another frog spotted in southern Vietnam, 'leptobrachium leucops', has striking black and white eyes.
Also among the array of reptiles discovered in the region during 2011 was the red-eyed green pit viper, found in forests close to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Warbler: The sweet singing frog (Gracixalus Quangi) was discovered in the high-altitude forests of northern Vietnam
Eye-catching: The 'yin-yang' frog (Leptobrachium leucops) is one of five new species discovered in the Mekong Delta region last year
Nick Cox, manager of WWF-Greater
Mekong's Species Programme, said the fascinating creatures emphasised
the need for investment in conservation in order to protect the future
of new discoveries, as well as other intriguing species that currently
'While the 2011 discoveries affirm
the Mekong as a region of astonishing bidoversity, many new species are
already struggling to survive in shrinking habitats,' said Mr Cox.
'Only by investing in nature
conservation, especially protected areas, and developing greener
economics, will we see these new species protected and keep alive the
hope of finding other intriguing species in years to come,' he added.
In particular, the tube-nosed bat depends on tropical forest for its survival and is especially vulnerable to deforestation.
To date, 30 per cent of the Greater Mekong's forests have disappeared within four decades.
The WWF singled out Laos' ongoing construction of the Xayaburi dam on the main stream of the Mekong River – which
supports around 850 fish species – as a 'significant' threat to the
region's extraordinary biodiversity.
'The Mekong River supports levels of aquatic biodiversity second only to the Amazon River,' Mr Cox said.
Xayaburi dam would prove an impassable barrier for many fish species,
signalling the demise for wildlife already known and as yet