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New African monkey species identified: Lesula found in one of Congo's last biologically unexplored forest blocks

Date:
September 12, 2012
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Researchers have identified a new species of African monkey, locally known as the lesula. This is only the second new species of African monkey discovered in the last 28 years.
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Captive Cercopithecus lomamiensis. Left: Adult male, Yawende, DRC. Photograph by M. Emetshu. Right: Subadult female, Opala, DRC. Photograph by J. A. Hart.
Credit: Hart et al. 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, 2012; 7 (9): e44271 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 Democratic Republic of Congo. The young monkey bore a resemblance to the owl faced monkey, but its coloration 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 PLOS ONE 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."


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The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John A. Hart, Kate M. Detwiler, Christopher C. Gilbert, Andrew S. Burrell, James L. Fuller, Maurice Emetshu, Terese B. Hart, Ashley Vosper, Eric J. Sargis, Anthony J. Tosi. 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, 2012; 7 (9): e44271 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044271

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "New African monkey species identified: Lesula found in one of Congo's last biologically unexplored forest blocks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912184516.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2012, September 12). New African monkey species identified: Lesula found in one of Congo's last biologically unexplored forest blocks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912184516.htm
Public Library of Science. "New African monkey species identified: Lesula found in one of Congo's last biologically unexplored forest blocks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120912184516.htm (accessed April 26, 2015).

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