Purring monkey and vegetarian piranha among new Amazon species

More than 400 new plant and animal species have been discovered in the Amazon in the last three years

The Amazon’s vast forests and rivers are home to 10% of the Earth’s species — and researchers in the region are still finding scores of previously unknown species each year, according to a new WWF (World Wildlife Fund) report.

Since 2010, researchers have discovered 441 new plant and animal species, including a passion flower that looks like an upturned bowl of purple spaghetti, a friendly monkey that purrs like a cat, a thimble-sized frog, and a vegetarian piranha.

”The more scientists look, the more they find,” said Damian Fleming, head of WWF programmes for the region. “It’s clear that the extraordinary Amazon remains one of the most important centres of global biodiversity.”

Many of the new species are at risk from deforestation and development. “The discovery of these new species reaffirms the importance of stepping up commitments to conserve and sustainably manage the unique biodiversity … provided by the rainforests,” Fleming said.