Monkey with ghost face and slug snake part of 224 new Mekong species

Popa langur | Photo courtesy of WWF Myanmar

A monkey with white circles around its eyes, making it look like a ghost, is one of 224 species newly added to a list of species in the Mekong region. Scientists discovered these species in 2020, but the report last year was delayed. The monkey is the only mammal on the list, and the rest are reptiles, frogs and newts, fish, and plants. The countries in the Mekong region are Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.

The new monkey species, called Popa Langur, has two distinct features; the white circles around its eyes, and its whiskers that point forward. The primate looks similar to the dusky leaf monkeys, or spectacled langurs, which are also dark with white circles around the eyes. Many dusky leaf monkeys can be found at Railay beach in Thailand’s southern province Krabi, along the Andaman coast.

Scientists discovered the Popa Langur species late last year. Popa Langur will be listed as an endangered species, and scientists say only 200 to 250 exist in a few places. The Mekong region has massive wildlife diversity, and scientists have discovered 3,000 new species there since 1997.

Another rare species in the Mekong is the orange twin slug snake, a snake that eats slugs. Another is a new kind of Begonia with reddish flowers and berries. There is also a ginger plant called a stink bug, because of its bad smell. The report on the plant said it smells like beetles Thais use to make chilli dipping sauce. The ginger plant was found in a plant shop in Northeastern Thailand.

Even though humans have damaged tropical forests and other wildlife areas, making many species go extinct, dozens of new species are still found in the Mekong every year.

SOURCE: The Guardian

Thailand News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.