Scientists identify new Amazon monkey species

The Plecturocebus parecis lives on plateaus.

Livestock threatens the species.

A new species of monkey dwelling in the Amazon forest has been confirmed. Called Plecturocebus parecis, it was first spotted more than a century ago and since then scientists have mistaken it for the Plecturocebus cinerascens.

The suspicion that they could be a different species arose in 2011 when Rondônia University researcher, Mariluce Messias, started studying deforestation in the Amazon.

She was part of a team of experts who carried out analyses of the primate’s characteristics and DNA, which led them to conclude it was, in fact, a species in its own right. The new discovery was published in the journal Primate Conservation.

Plecturocebus is a type of titi monkey found in South America. They are small with a long tail that helps them balance on trees. The P. Parecis has a distinct auburn color, while the others tend to be gray.

They also have short and light fur on their hands and feet, a grey beard and sideburns. The end of their tails is covered with light gray fur.

The ‘new’ species lives on the Parecis Plateau in Rondônia, hence its name. Researchers have noted that their geographic location is not properly defined yet.

The research team is now working on getting the primate listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a threatened species since their habitat is in a region known as Arc of Deforestation.

Typically, the forest is destroyed to make way for soya, corn and livestock. The building of new motorways represents another threat to their habitats.


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