Sneezing monkey, suicidal snake,

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Certainly not afraid to stand out from the shoal, these vibrant blue 'walking' snakehead fish were recently discovered. Photo: World Wildlife Fund

Sneezing monkey, suicidal snake,

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Naturalists have discovered a type of snub-nosed monkey in the remote forests of northern Burma. Locals said it was easy to find when it was raining because it got rainwater in its upturned nose, causing it to sneeze. Photo: World Wildlife Fund

Sneezing monkey, suicidal snake,

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Other discoveries by the World Wildlife Federation included a new bird named the spotted wren-babbler. Photo: World Wildlife Fund

Sneezing monkey, suicidal snake,

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A Bompu Litter Frog was among more than 200 new species discovered in the Eastern Himalayas. Photo: World Wildlife Fund

Sneezing monkey, suicidal snake,

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A new banana species, known only as musa markkui was also found in the Eastern Himalayas. Photo: World Wildlife Fund

Sneezing monkey, suicidal snake,

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A new species of the Himalayan pit viper - Protobothrops himalayansus. Photo: World Wildlife Fund

Sneezing monkey, suicidal snake, 'walking' fish: 200 incredible new species discovered in the Himalayas

Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB

A fish that can survive on land for four days; a monkey that can't stop sneezing when rain gets up its nose; a suicidal species of snake that kills itself using its own fangs when people get too close; these may sound like the extravagant imagination of a fiction writer but they're among 211 new animal and plant species recently discovered in the Himalayas.

The discoveries are detailed in a World Wildlife Fund report called Hidden Himalayas: Asia's Wonderland that documents the new species that have been encountered over the past six years in the eastern Himalayas.

The report calls this area - spanning Nepal, Bhutan and our northern Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Sikkim - 'one of the biologically richest areas on earth'.

Parts of north Bengal, Myanmar and southern Tibet also form part of this zone.

These discoveries, documented over the past six years, include 133 plants, 39 invertebrates, 26 fish, 10 amphibians, one reptile, one bird and one mammal - all of which were completely unknown to science before now.

Interestingly, some are of entirely new species of animal or plant; so unusual that there are no names or categories for them yet.

The discoveries also include three new species of wild banana, including the Musa markkui, named after the renowned banana scientist Markku Hakkinen.

The snub-nosed monkey, named Rhinopithecus strykeri, is the largest primate of its kind in the world but is considered to be critically endangered. With dark black fur, it has a strange upturned nose - a feature that causes water to get into its nose when it rains and causes it to sneeze incessantly.

Then there's the vibrant blue dwarf snakehead fish, which can breathe out of the water for up to four days. Discovered in the swamps of Lefraguri in West Bengal, the fish - named Channa Andrao by scientists - is apparently an aggressive predator. Although it has gills, it can wriggle on land for up to a quarter of a mile.

There's also a blue-eyed frog thrown in for good measure; one of 10 new amphibians discovered. Measuring just 1.8 inches long, Leptobrachium Bompu was found beside a stream at the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in the West Kameng district.

A strikingly beautiful but suicidal species of snake - a lance-headed pit vipers - was also discovered; researchers say it looks more like a piece of jewellery than an animal. Named Protobothrops Himalayansus, these venomous vipers have striking red-brown bands that give them a vaguely iridescent quality. To the scientists' astonishment, though, when they tried to get a closer look at a male and female of this species, they killed themselves using their own fangs.

It's not all good news though. Scientists are already warning that many of these species are already under threat as habitats are damaged or destroyed in the region. A range of factors - climate change, deforestation, poaching, and pollution among them - are putting pressure on the estimated 10,000 species that live in the region.

These gorgeous photographs offer an insight into the mysterious, unknown world nestling in the Himalayas.

Priyata Brajabasi

Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB