Scientists discover 11 new species of life in Vietnam

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

At least 11 new species of life have been discovered in the rainforests of Thua Thien-Hue Province in Vietnam in a region of the forest described as the "Green Corridor." The discovery was made by researchers from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Among the new species are five orchids and at least three other species of plants, two butterflies and a snake. At least ten more species of plants are believed to be new species but are still being studied.

"You only discover so many new species in very special places, and the Green Corridor is one of them. Several large mammal species were discovered in the 1990s in the same forests, which means that these latest discoveries could be just the tip of the iceberg," said a technical adviser in Vietnam for the WWF, Chris Dickinson.

The new species of life are exclusive to the rainforest in Thua Thien-Hue Province.

The new snake, which can grow to 80 centimeters long, has been given the name white-lipped keelback because of a yellow-white stripe on the top of its head and makes its home near small streams and feeds on small animals and frogs.

The new species of butterflies are one subfamily of the Satyrinae species and the other a species of the Skipper butterfly.

The orchids, all of which are considered very rare because they were found to have no leaves whatsoever on the plant, grow in "matter" that is rotting and also contain no chlorophyll. The other two new plant species are of Arum and Aspidistra.

The WWF is concerned that civilization may move closer into the rainforest, destroying the homes of these new species, but the government of Thua Thien-Hue Province says it's dedicated to making sure that they are protected, along with the rainforest.

"The area is extremely important for conservation and the province wants to protect the forests and their environmental services, as well as contribute to sustainable development," said Provincial Forest Protection Department Director for the province, Hoang Ngoc Khanh.

The species were found in the rainforest in 2005 and 2006.


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