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.
First Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 17:54