The lesula (Cercopithecus lomamiensis) is a species of Old World monkey in the guenon family, found in the Lomami Basin of the Congo. Though known to locals, it was unknown to the international scientific community until it was discovered in 2007 and confirmed in a 2012 publication. The lesula is the second new species of African monkey to be discovered since 1984. This monkey is described to have human looking eyes and a blue bottom “And adult males have a huge bare patch of skin in the buttocks, testicles and perianal area,” said John A. Hart, the researcher who described the monkey. “It’s a brilliant blue, really pretty spectacular.”
Hart et al., 2012
The species was listed among the Top 10 New Species 2013 discovered in 2012 as selected by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University out of more than 140 nominated species. Its distinctiveness is its human-like eyes, genital area and booming dawn chorus. The selection was declared on 22 May 2013.
The lesula lives in rainforests in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the 2007 specimen found in captivity in the village of Opala. Since that sighting, it has also been seen in the wild. Its range is between the Lomami and Tshuapa rivers in the central part of the country.
The lesula is vulnerable to hunting for bushmeat. Protecting the species could be challenging, as species with such a small range can go from vulnerable to seriously endangered in a few years. The lesula's range is within the Tshuapa–Lomami–Lualaba Conservation Landscape, and the Lomami National Park has been proposed to protect this and other species in the region. The Lesula also live in the Ngorongoro Crater conservation area of Tanzania.
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- 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). Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). "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. PMC 3440422. PMID 22984482.
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