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Flying frog among 353 new Himalayan species: WWF

A flying frog, the world's smallest deer and the first new monkey to be found in over a century are among 350 new species discovered in the eastern Himalayas in the past decade, the WWF See Windows Workflow Foundation.  said Monday.

But the environmental group said the vital habitats of the mountain range were facing growing pressures from unsustainable development in the region, which spans Nepal, China, India, Bhutan and Myanmar.

In a report released here Monday, it said climate change, deforestation, overgrazing overgrazing

see overstocking.
 by domestic livestock and illegal poaching and wildlife trading threatened one of the biologically richest areas of the planet.

"In the last half-century, this area of South Asia has faced a wave of pressures as a result of population growth and the increasing demand for commodities," said the report, "The Eastern Himalayas -- Where Worlds Collide."

"Only 25 percent of the original habitats in the region remain intact. For the unique species of the Eastern Himalayas, this means that today 163 are considered globally threatened," it said.

The WWF said 353 new species were discovered in the region between 1998 and 2008, among them a red-footed tree frog known as a "flying frog" because its large webbed feet allow it to glide when falling.

Another new species was a kind of caecilian caecilian (sēsĭl`ēən), any of the legless, tailless tropical amphibians of the family Caecilidae. Most adult caecilians resemble earthworms superficially but have vertebrate characteristics such as jaws and teeth. , a limbless amphibian that resembles a giant earthworm earthworm, terrestrial, cylindrical segmented worm of the class Oligochaeta. There are 2,200 earthworm species, found all over the world except in arid and arctic regions and ranging in size from 1 in. (2.5 cm) to the 11-ft (330-cm) giant worms of the tropics.  and lives underground -- a significant discovery because caecilians are among the planet's least-studied creatures.

Other highlights were the world's smallest deer -- a miniature muntjac muntjac: see deer.
muntjac
 or barking deer

Any of about seven species of solitary, nocturnal deer, native to Asia and introduced into England and France, that constitute the genus Muntiacus (family Cervidae).
 standing just 60-80 centimetres (25-30 inches) tall that was found in northern Myanmar -- and the first new monkey species to be discovered in over a century.

The WWF said the new species of macaque macaque (məkäk`), name for Old World monkeys of the genus Macaca, related to mangabeys, mandrills, and baboons. All but one of the 19 species are found in Asia from Afghanistan to Japan, the Philippines, and Borneo.  was one of the highest-dwelling monkeys in the world, living in India's Arunachal Pradesh state at between 1,600 and 3,500 metres (5,000 and 11,500 feet) above sea level.

Among the 242 new plant varieties discovered was an ultramarine ultramarine, blue pigment used chiefly as a coloring material and as a bluing agent. A double silicate of sodium and aluminum with some sulfur, it is prepared commercially from kaolin, sulfur, soda ash, and other inexpensive ingredients.  blue flower found by two intrepid Chinese botanists who descended into a gorge in Tibet that is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in places.

The WWF described the rare bloom as "dramatic in both colour and form" and said its colour changed with the temperature, making it particularly remarkable.
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Aug 10, 2009
Words:369
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