Thursday, September 13, 2012

[Mammalogy • 2012] Lesula | Cercopithecus lomamiensis • A New Species of Cercopithecus Monkey (Cercopithecoidea, Cercopithecinae) Endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Implications for Conservation of Congo’s Central Basin

Lesula | Cercopithecus lomamiensis

Lesula | Cercopithecus lomamiensis
Hart, Detwiler, Gilbert, Burrell, Fuller, Emetshu, Hart, Vosper, Sargis & Tosi, 2012

illustration: Kimio Honda |

Camera trap captures Lesula
: On the Losekola study area, just west of the Lomami River

In June 2007, a previously undescribed monkey known locally as “lesula” was found in the forests of the middle Lomami Basin in central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We describe this new species as Cercopithecus lomamiensis sp. nov., and provide data on its distribution, morphology, genetics, ecology and behavior. C. lomamiensis is restricted to the lowland rain forests of central DRC between the middle Lomami and the upper Tshuapa Rivers. Morphological and molecular data confirm that C. lomamiensis is distinct from its nearest congener, C. hamlyni, from which it is separated geographically by both the Congo (Lualaba) and the Lomami Rivers. C. lomamiensis, like C. hamlyni, is semi-terrestrial with a diet containing terrestrial herbaceous vegetation. The discovery of C. lomamiensis highlights the biogeographic significance and importance for conservation of central Congo’s interfluvial TL2 region, defined from the upper Tshuapa River through the Lomami Basin to the Congo (Lualaba) River. The TL2 region has been found to contain a high diversity of anthropoid primates including three forms, in addition to C. lomamiensis, that are endemic to the area. We recommend the common name, lesula, for this new species, as it is the vernacular name used over most of its known range.

Adult male Cercopithecus lomamiensis, Yawende, DRC, photo by Maurice Emetshu

eagle-killed subadult female Cercopithecus lomamiensis, photo by Gilbert Paluku.

Juvenile coloration: Cercopithecus lomamiensis, captured near Obenge, DRC .

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). 

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. 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.

In Congo, a rare find — a new species of monkey

New African monkey species identified
photos: New Species of Monkey Discovered