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Thursday, 13 September 2012

New African Monkey Species

New African monkey species identified

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."

Citation: 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
Financial Disclosure: The research was supported by Arcus Foundation (, United States Fish and Wildlife Service ( ), a grant from Edith McBean, Abraham Foundation (, Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation Grant, and a Gaylord Donnelley Environmental Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies ( The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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Some Sample Illustrations from the PLOS ONE article follow. The entire articlre is recommended.
thumbnailFigure 3. Captive Cercopithecus lomamiensis.
Left: Adult male, Yawende, DRC. Photograph by M. Emetshu. Right: Subadult female, Opala, DRC. Photograph by J. A. Hart.
thumbnailFigure 4. Adult pelage coloration.
Portraits: Captive adult male Cercopithecus hamlyni (upper left), photo by Noel Rowe, with permission; and captive adult male Cercopithecus lomamiensis (upper right), Yawende, DRC, photo by Maurice Emetshu. Lateral view: Hunter-killed adult male Cercopithecus hamlyni (bottom left), photo by Gilbert Paluku; and eagle-killed subadult female Cercopithecus lomamiensis (bottom right), photo by Gilbert Paluku.
Cranium with a distinctive elongated nasal profile and large orbits (Figs. 2, 5). The face (nasion-prosthion) is relatively klinorhynch, angled downward relative to nasion-basion at approximately 85–92 degrees. The cranium of C. lomamiensis differs from C. hamlyni, having significantly larger orbits, an elongated occipital region (as characterized by the lambda-inion chord), a narrower interorbital region, a greater degree of occipital flexion, and a narrower calvarium (Fig. 5, Table S4). Dentally, C. lomamiensis differs from C. hamlyni in its significantly larger incisors, upper and lower second molars, and upper M3s (Table S4).
thumbnailFigure 5. Cranial morphology.
Comparative crania of C. lomamiensis (left) and C. hamlyni (right) (A), and principal components analysis of Procrustes aligned coordinates in a 3-D geometric morphometric analysis of 23 landmarks on cercopithecin crania (B). The wireframe crania at each end of PC1 and PC2 represent the shape changes observed moving across a given axis. Distinctive changes in cranial shape separating the taxa on PC1 are associated with orbit size and occipital length/flexion. The minimum convex polygon representing C. lomamiensis (n = 3) does not overlap with the minimum convex polygon representing its sister species, C. hamlyni (n = 7). See Table S4 for details of statistical results.
thumbnailFigure 6. Juvenile coloration.
Cercopithecus hamlyni, captured east of Kisangani, DRC (left), and Cercopithecus lomamiensis, captured near Obenge, DRC (right). White nose stripe is variably present in juvenile C. hamlyni from the Kisangani region. Photos by John Hart.
Sexual dimorphism is present for body and canine size, with the adult male larger. An adult male exhibits a bright blue scrotum and perineum (Fig. 7), which fade quickly upon death becoming creamy white in dried skins. The male C. lomamiensis emits a characteristic low frequency, descending, loud call or boom similar to, but distinguishable from that of C. hamlyni (Fig. 8, Table S8, Audio S1 and S2).
thumbnailFigure 7. Adult male perinea and scrota.
Hunter-killed C. hamlyni (left) and hunter-killed C. lomamiensis (right). Photos by Gilbert Paluku.
thumbnailFigure 9. Estimated cercopithecin divergence dates.
Dashed gray lines highlight the inferred divergence date between C. lomamiensis and C. hamlyni for each locus: TSPY (A), ~ 1.7 Ma (3.2–0.5 Ma), and Xq13.3 homolog (B), ~ 2.8 Ma (4.3–0.6 Ma). For both loci, mean divergence date estimates were inferred using a Bayesian approach implemented in BEAST 1.5.3. Confidence intervals of 95% for all nodes are given in Table S9. Tree topology follows that inferred by maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses using GARLI and MRBAYES, respectively. Clades supported by ML bootstrap and Bayesian clade credibility values of <90/0.90 are marked with *.
Molecular divergence date estimates of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of the C. lomamiensis–C. hamlyni clade is inferred at ~1.7 Ma (95% confidence interval 3.2–0.5 Ma) for TSPY and ~2.8 Ma (95% confidence interval 4.3–1.6 Ma) for the Xq13.3 homolog (Figs. 9, 10, Table S9). The older MRCA estimates for the X-dataset likely reflect the presence of ancestral alleles and/or deeper coalescence at the X-locus. Molecular estimates of the divergence between C. lomamiensis and C. hamlyni are similar to, or predate divergences between, well-recognized species within other cercopithecin species groups (Fig. 10).
thumbnailFigure 10. Estimated divergence dates (Ma) for selected guenons (Cercopithecus) based on analyses of TSPY and Xq13.3 homolog sequences.
Values shown are mean and 95% Confidence Interval for estimates. See Table S9 for full comparisons.

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