The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


Lesula: A remarkable new species of Cercopithecus monkey from Congo’s Central Basin

KATE M. DETWILER1, JOHN A. HART2,3, CHRISTOPHER C. GILBERT4, ANDREW S. BURRELL5, JAMES L. FULLER6, MAURICE EMETSHU7, TERESE B. HART3,8, ASHLEY VOSPER9, ERIC J. SARGIS10,3 and ANTHONY J. TOSI5.

1Anthropology Department, Florida Atlantic University, 2Scientific and Technical Director, Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation, 3Division of Vertebrate Zoology, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, 4Anthropology Department, Hunter College of the City University of New York, 5Center for the Study of Human Origins, Department of Anthropology, New York University, 6Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, 7TL2 Project, Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation, 8National Director, Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation, 9Wildlife Conservation Society Zanaga Project, Wildlife Conservation Society, 10Anthropology Department, Yale University

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In September 2012 we published a full description and diagnosis of the new guenon species Cercopithecus lomamiensis, only the second species of African monkey to be described in the past 28 years. Our study integrated a diversity of data to document concordant patterns of genetic, morphological, and phenotypic (pelage) divergence between C. lomamiensis and its sister species C. hamlyni. Furthermore, the two species are separated by two major rivers and interfluvial forest region. Here we recount the discovery of C. lomamiensis in the forests of the Lomami Basin in central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and review the evidence used to confirm its species recognition. We present new information on the species, including use of camera traps to document the behavior and ecology of this cryptic species, and update its conservation status.

The discovery of C. lomamiensis adds a new species to the previously monotypic and poorly known hamlyni species group. Several traits within the C. hamlyniC. lomamiensis lineage are unique within the arboreal Cercopithecus radiation, including a distinctive dawn loud call chorus, adult males with blue perinea, buttocks, and scrota, and semi-terrestriality. The discovery confirms the biogeographical significance and importance for conservation of the eastern interfluvial region of the Congo River’s central basin, known as TL2, from the upper Tshuapa through the Lomami River Basin to the Congo (Lualaba) River. This previously little surveyed forest region is shown to have high taxonomic richness and endemism of primates, and represents an important area for conservation of Central African forest faunas.

The research was supported by Arcus Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, a grant from Edith McBean, Abraham Foundation, Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation Grant, Gaylord Donnelley Environmental Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.

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