Thursday, September 13, 2012


Cercopithecus lomamiensis
I love writing about newly discovered animals, and this one is so new that it was just introduced yesterday! Meet Cercopithecus lomamiensis, locally referred to as the Lesula.

The Lesula avoided detection for so long because their native range is in very remote forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was only noticed because a man found a young one on a hunting trip, and brought it back to his 13-year-old niece, Georgette. Congo researcher John Hart noticed the beautiful monkey in Georgette's village in 2007, and spent the next five years trying to figure out what it was.

This new species is very striking. They have bright golden manes, red patches on their backs, and the males have bright aquamarine backsides (which allow the lady monkeys to find them in the thick vegetation-- bright blue really stands out!). They live in groups of up to five individuals, and feed on fruits and leaves.

The Lesula is one of the many monkey species that faces danger from local hunting. The meat is cheap, and in some places, very easy to obtain. Hart is currently trying to set up a preserve to keep this brand new species protected, as they are probably threatened enough to be listed as Vulnerable. Sadly, the monkey that started it all, was probably taken for food by one of Georgette's fellow villagers.

IUCN Status : Not Listed (Probably Vulnerable)
Location : Democratic Republic of Congo
Size :  Weight up to 15lbs (7kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Primates
Family : Cercopithecidae -- Genus : Cercopithecus -- Species : C. lomamiensis

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