New African monkey species identified

September 12, 2012
Adult pelage coloration. Portraits are of a captive adult male Cercopithecus hamlyni (upper left), photo by Noel Rowe, with permission; and captive adult male Cercopithecus lomamiensis (upper right). Credit: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044271

Researchers have identified a new species of African monkey, locally known as the lesula, described in the Sep. 12 issue of the open access journal PLOS ONE. This is only the second new species of African monkey discovered in the last 28 years.

The first lesula found was a young captive animal seen in 2007 in a school director's compound in the town of Opala in the . The young monkey bore a resemblance to the faced monkey, but its was unlike that of any other known species.

Over the following three years, the study authors located additional lesula in the wild, determined its genetic and anatomical distinctiveness, and made initial observations of its behavior and ecology, as reported in the paper.

The new species' range covers about 6,500 square miles in central DRC, in what was one of Congo's last biologically unexplored forest blocks. Although its range is remote and only lightly settled at present, the lesula is threatened by local bush meat hunting.

"The challenge for conservation now in Congo is to intervene before losses become definitive," say John and Terese Hart, who led the project. "Species with small ranges like the lesula can move from vulnerable to seriously endangered over the course of just a few years."

Explore further: Monkey species discovery overshadowed by threat

More information: Hart JA, Detwiler KM, Gilbert CC, Burrell AS, Fuller JL, et al. (2012) Lesula: A New Species of Cercopithecus Monkey Endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Implications for Conservation of Congo's Central Basin. PLOS ONE 7(9): e44271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044271

Related Stories

Tonkin snub-nosed monkey sighting in Vietnam

May 21, 2012

As one of the most endangered primate species in the world, sightings of the elusive Tonkin snub-nosed monkey are rare. It’s no wonder a recent sighting of a group in Vietnam has proved cause for celebration.

First photo evidence of snub-nosed monkey species in China

July 26, 2012

Chinese researchers have published the first evidence that a population of the recently discovered snub-nosed monkey, Rhinopithecus Strykeri, live in China. Until now researchers have been unable to photograph the monkey, ...

Lost forest yields several new species

August 7, 2007

An expedition led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to a remote corner of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has uncovered unique forests which, so far, have been found to contain six animal species new to ...

Recommended for you

Cow gene study shows why most clones fail

December 9, 2016

It has been 20 years since Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned in Scotland, but cloning mammals remains a challenge. A new study by researchers from the U.S. and France of gene expression in developing clones now shows ...

Blueprint for shape in ancient land plants

December 9, 2016

Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge have unlocked the secrets of shape in the most ancient of land plants using time-lapse imaging, growth analysis and computer modelling.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RobL
5 / 5 (1) Sep 12, 2012
Nice looking primate,but im sure it would steal your iphone 5 in a second. Cant wait to hear more about this species.
VendicarD
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 13, 2012
Looks Jewish.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.