New snake and orchids found in Vietnam

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London, Sep 26: Scientists have discovered 11 plant and animal species, including a snake, in a remote area of Vietnam, environment group World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said today.

The new species, found in an area of Vietnam's Annamites Mountain Range known as the Green Corridor, also include two butterflies, five orchids -- including three leafless varieties -- and three other plants.

''You only discover so many new species in very special places, and the Green Corridor is one of them,'' said Chris Dickinson, WWF's chief technical adviser in the area.

''Several large mammal species were discovered in the 1990s in the same forests, which means that these latest discoveries could be just the tip of the iceberg.'' The latest discoveries were made between 2005 and 2006.

The new snake species has been named the white-lipped keelback.

WWF said it lives by streams on a diet of frogs and other small animals and can grow to 80 centimetres in length.

Three of the orchid species are entirely leafless, have no chlorophyl and, like many fungal species, live on decaying matter.

The other new plants include the Aspidistra nicolai which produces an almost black flower and a new species of arum, the Cryptocoryne vietnamica, which has yellow flowers surrounded by funnel-shaped leaves.

Recent surveys have shown the Green Corridor area is home to many threatened species including 15 reptiles and amphibians and six bird species.

WWF said it was worried endangered species in the area were at risk from illegal logging, hunting, unsustainable extraction of natural resources and conflicting development interests.


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