Walking fish, sneezing monkey among 211 new Himalayan species

08 Oct 2015


Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) researchers have discovered 211 new species in the Himalayan region, including a snub-nosed monkey that sneezes when it rains and walking fish that live on land.

The vibrant blue walking snakehead fish can breathe atmospheric air and survive on land for up to four days. © Henning Strack HansenThe discoveries have been made over a time period of five years while surveying the eastern Himalaya and the northeast region.

While searching for wildlife in regions like Nepal, Bhutan, the far north of Myanmar, southern Tibet and north-eastern India, The WWF researchers found 211 new species including 133 plant species, 26 fish species, 10 new amphibians, one mammal, one bird and one reptile.

Some newly discovered species raised the eyebrows of the scientists, like vibrant blue dwarf walking snakehead fish that can inhale atmospheric air and can survive up to four days on land, while the snub-nosed monkey amazed the scientists with its upturned nose.

The shape of the monkey's nose is unfortunate as every time rain water gets stuck in its nose, making it sneeze. To avoid this problem the snub-nosed monkeys sit with their head tucked between its feet as it prevents water from entering in to nose.

When asked about about the snub-nosed monkey local people said that it is very easy to find the monkey in regions of Myanmar. Researchers were so mesmerized with the specie that they nicknamed it ''Snubby''.

The report presented by the WWF also mentions a living gem-the bejeweled lance-headed pit viper, which could pass as a carefully crafted piece of jewelry. Researchers have also discovered a plant-eating, rodent-like mammal.

More than 550 species have been discovered in the Eastern Himalayas including Bhutan, north Myanmar, Nepal, southern Tibet and north-eastern Indian states like Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim, and North Bengal in last 15 years. This depicts India's rich but heavily threatened flora and fauna and rich biodiversity

About 12 per cent of the world's endangered species live in India. ''With discovery comes the important responsibility to continue protecting and caring for these precious gifts that this world has been blessed with,'' said Dechen Dorji, country representative, WWF Bhutan.

(Read more: Hundreds of new species discovered in the fragile Eastern Himalayan region)

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