Researchers discovered a frog and four plant species in Myanmar in 2016, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) announced today.
The discoveries are among the 115 new species found last year within the Greater Mekong region, which includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and parts of southern China. The discoveries are described in the report Stranger Species, which is named after a number of animals that “would not look out of place in a Star Wars movie.”
These strange-looking animals include the Vietnamese crocodile lizard, the snail-eating turtle and mountain horseshoe bat from Thailand, and a fluffy mole from Vietnam.
The newly discovered Myanmar frog, known as Limnonectes longchuanensis, is not particularly strange-looking and is related to some previously known species in the area. It is found in southern China and in Sagaing Region, Chin State, and Kachin State in Myanmar.
The four new plants discovered in Myanmar include an orchid, a begonia, and two flowering plants in the mint family.
“The Greater Mekong region is already home to some of the most iconic species in the world, but every year this list grows longer as more and more scientists head to the region to climb mountains, wade through rivers, and muddy their boots in search of the mysteries that nature is still hiding,” reads WWF’s report on the discoveries.
It continues: “While it’s amazing to see the diversity of species being discovered every year, many of these species are under direct threat from human activity… If we can put a stop to the exploitation of species for human consumption and the destruction of their habitats, we can ensure that this incredible rate of species discovery – and the increased scientific understanding that goes with it – can continue for generations to come.”