Page last updated at 06:03 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Greater Mekong's species spectacle

Gumprecht's green pitviper (Image: Piyawan Niyomwan)

Conservation group WWF says that more than 1,000 species new to science have been recorded in South-East Asia's Greater Mekong region over the past decade. These include 22 snake species, including this green pitviper (Trimeresurus gumprechti).

Dragon millipede (Image: Somsar Panha)

The "dragon millipede" (Desmoxytes purpurosea) was first described in 2007 by scientists in Thailand. Researchers suggest the bright colouring acts as a warning to would-be predators, as the millipede has glands that produce cyanide as a defence mechanism.

Laotian rock rat (Image: David Redfield)

The Laotian rock rat (Laonastes aenigmamus) was first recorded by scientists at a food market in Laos. Remarkably, researchers say this species is the sole survivor of an ancient group of rodents understood to have died out 11 million years ago.

Heteropoda dagmarae (Image: Peter Jager)

The large and aggressive Heteropoda dagmarae was found in forests of northern and central Laos. The nocturnal spider skillfully ambushes its prey from shrubs, trees, or bamboo between two and four metres from the ground.

Chiromantis samkosensis (Image: Lee Grismer)

Tree frog Chiromantis samkosensis, found in Cambodia, has a number of unique characteristics that distinguishes it from other Asian Chiromantis species, including green blood and turquoise bones.

 Gekko scientiadventura (Image: Thomas Ziegler)

Scientists say finding so many species, such as the Gekko scientiadventura, suggests that many more creatures are still to be described in the region, which covers Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and China's Yunnan province.



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