The Channa andrao snakehead, which breathes atmospheric air and can live on land for four days at a time, is one of more than 200 species discovered between 2009 and 2014, as detailed in a report this month by the World Wildlife Federation.
[Walking fish raised on land mimic ancient evolutionary transition]
An average of 34 new species were discovered every year since 2009 in the Eastern Himalayan region, which includes Bhutan, northeastern India, Nepal, northern Myanmar and southern Tibet. The WWF report also highlights the precarious standing of these species; just 25 percent of the region's original habitats remain, due to development. Poaching, overgrazing and the wildlife trade also threaten species, according to the report.
"The challenge is to preserve our threatened ecosystems before these species, and others yet unknown are lost," Sami Tornikoski of WWF Living Himalayas Initiative said in a statement.
A total of 26 fish were found in recent years. The dwarf snakehead fish, native to West Bengal's Lefraguri swamp, comes in a vibrant blue and "walks" in a cumbersome way -- nothing like the smooth movements of a slithering snake. These primitive creatures lack pelvic fins, and members of the Channa genus of snakeheads can grow up to nearly 4 feet long. Females can release up to 15,000 eggs at a time, according to the report.
[This deep sea creature looks just like the Flying Spaghetti Monster]
Nearly one-third of the world's known Channa snakeheads live in the Eastern Himalayan region, making it an epicenter of snakehead diversity.
Just one mammal was recently discovered in the region: a monkey with an upturned nose. This poor fellow, called Rhinopithecus strykeri, has a tough go of it when it rains.
"Locals claim that the black and white monkey is very easy to find when it is raining because the monkeys often get rainwater in their upturned noses causing them to sneeze," the WWF report reads. "To avoid this evolutionary inconvenience, snub-nosed monkeys spend rainy days sitting with their heads tucked between their knees."
© 2015 The Washington Post
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