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BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) ─ Scientists combing through undersea fauna off Indonesia's Papua province said Monday they had discovered dozens of new species, including a shark that walks on its fins and a shrimp that looks like a praying mantis
The team from U.S.-based Conservation International also warned that the area ─ known as Bird's Head Seascape ─ is under danger from fishermen who use dynamite and cyanide to net their catches and called on Indonesia's government to do more to protect it.
Erdmann and his team claim to have discovered 52 new species, including 24 new species of fish, 20 new species of coral and eight new species of shrimp. Among the highlights were an epaulette shark that walks on its fins, a praying mantis-like shrimp and scores of reef-building corals, he said.
Erdmann said the discoveries add to an already legendary reputation for the area, which stretches for 70,000 square miles on the northwestern end of Indonesia's Papua province.
Dubbed Asia's “Coral Triangle,'' it is home to more than 1,200 species of fish and almost 600 species of reef-building coral, or 75 percent of the world's known total.