London: Scientists claim to have spotted a new species of lizard in Vietnam -- but on a restaurant menu.
The "self-cloning" species -- which are all females -- were spotted by chance. The lizard was among 208 new species described last year by scientists in the Mekong River region of Southeast Asia, a conservation group has announced.
The six-country region around the Mekong river is so biologically rich that a new species is discovered there almost every other day, the scientists said.
The animals were discovered in a biodiverse region that is threatened by habitat loss, deforestation, climate change and overdevelopment, the WWF said in a report.
The newly described species include what the WWF group described as a "psychedelic gecko" in southern Vietnam and a nose-less monkey in a remote province of Myanmar with an odd, quiff-like hairstyle.
"While this species, sporting an Elvis-like hairstyle, is new to science, the local people of Myanmar know it well,` the Switzerland-based group said in its report.
The region is home to some of the world`s most endangered species, including tigers, Asian elephants, Mekong dolphins and Mekong giant catfish, the group said.
"This is a region of extraordinary richness in terms of biodiversity but also one that is extremely fragile," the `Daily Mail` quoted Sarah Bladen, communications director for WWF Greater Mekong, as saying.