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. New Stingray Species Discovered In Thailand

The western Thai province of Kanchanaburi where the new species of stingray was found
by Staff Writers
Bangkok (AFP) Apr 18, 2006
Scientists have discovered a new species of freshwater stingray in a Thai river, an environmental group said Wednesday, warning that its habitat must be protected to ensure its survival.

The bottom-dwelling species, Himantura kittipongi, was found in the western province of Kanchanaburi and belongs to the Dasyatidae family of stingrays, said the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The 60-centimetre (24-inch) wide animal was named after Kittipong Jaruthanin, the Thai fish expert who found the animal two years ago and keeps it in a pond at his home.

The stingray has 12 to 14 rows of teeth on its lower jaw -- more than any other species of Thai freshwater stingray, the fund said.

Two scientists, WWF Thailand senior freshwater biologist Chavalit Vidthayanon and Smithsonian research associate Tyson Roberts, last month confirmed the new species.

"This new finding reflects the high diversity of fish fauna in Thailand," the fund said in a statement.

It called for conservation efforts "for the survival of this new stingray and many other Thai fish fauna as well as for sustainable management of their fish resources and habitats."

Chavalit said Thai officials must manage the area for the future. "It's not just to save the stingray but the habitat as it will serve the local community for fish, water and other ecosystem services," he told AFP.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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