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New species found in south China rainforest

4 February 2009

A scientific exploration has found some new biological species in a rainforest of Yinggeling Nature Reserve in China's southernmost Hainan Province.

The one-week exploration in mid-January discovered a new insect called Dolichothyreus stigmatus, as well as rare tree Trigonobalanus verticillata.

The exploration team was composed of experts from the Hainan Yinggeling Nature Reserve, Hong Kong Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden and South China Agricultural University.

"Biodiversity is extremely high in Yinggeling's tropical rainforest and it is a vital wildlife refuge. We basically made new discoveries in every scientific exploration in this forest, which is on a par with other biodiversity hot spots worldwide," said Dr. Bosco Chan, zoologist from the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden.

Yinggeling mountain range is located in the center of the island province and covers 500 square kilometers. Thanks to its remoteness and inaccessibility, it has avoided large-scale human disturbances and has a relatively intact tropical rainforest ecosystem preserving rich fauna and flora resources.

A previous expedition to Yinggeling in 2006 found a new species of Begonia and a new orchid species (Nephelaphyllum pulchrum).  The expedition found 79 rare and endangered plant species, including Bretchneidera sinensis, in the rainforest, all threatened by over-exploitation and habitat loss as forest cover decreases.



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