1,200 new species found in Amazon

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More than 1,200 new species of plants and animals have been discovered in the Amazon over the past decade - a new species every three days.

The new species include 637 plants, 257 fish, 216 amphibians, 55 reptiles, 16 birds and 39 mammals, confirming that the Amazon is one of the most diverse places on Earth.

Among the findings are the first new species of anaconda identified since 1936, a frog with a colourful head, a parrot with a bald head, the Bolivian river dolphin and a purple tarrantula.

Scientists say the rate of discovery of new species is astounding and note that the statistsics don't account for insect groups, where discoveries are almost too many to count.

Whilst many parts of the Amazon remain relatively undisturbed, threats to the region are rapidly increasing.

During the last 50 years humankind has caused the destruction of at least 17 per cent of the Amazon rainforest - an area twice the size of Spain.

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