15 December, 2008 - Published 17:11 GMT
New species discovered in the Mekong area
The conservation group WWF has reported that a bright pink millipede and a striped rabbit are among more than a thousand new species which have been discovered along the banks of the Mekong River in south east Asia within the last ten years. This report from Rob Norris:
The conservationists are describing the largely unexplored jungles and wetlands in the Mekong Delta as a biological treasure trove. The discoveries, made in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Burma and China, range from the world's largest huntsman spider, which has a leg span of thirty centimetres, to a wild banana with purple skin.
The Conservation Science Advisor to WWF, Mark Wright, says that between 1997 and 2007, scientists found an average of two previously undiscovered species every week:
They remained unknown in the outside world for so long because political conflicts in the region kept scientists away until the 1990s.
WWF is warning that the main challenge facing the area is how to allow economic development while still maintaining environmental protection.
Rob Norris, BBC
a biological treasure trove
to deter predators
maintaining environmental protection
with an aggressive personality : 積極的個性
Mekong River 湄公河
huntsman spider 長腳蜘蛛