Sunday, September 23, 2012

New and blue

Its chin and chest are blond, its limbs are blackish, its back and tail are reddish, and its backside is apparently much more vibrant than the photo above would lead you to believe. Here's how field scientist John A. Hart of the Lukuru Foundation describes the most unusual coloring of the lesula (Cercopithecus lomaniensis): “ males have a huge bare patch of skin in the buttocks, testicles and perianal area. It’s a brilliant blue, really pretty spectacular.” During their research in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Hart and his colleagues noticed the blue butt of one of the beasts which was kept as a pet by a schoolgirl. Though it resembled other monkeys, they thought it might be a distinct species - and genetic testing proved  them right. The identification of mammals new to science is rare and the lesula is only the 3rd monkey described on the African continent in 30 years (the sun-tailed monkey was discovered in Gabon in 1984 and the kipunji was discovered in Tanzania in 2003). With the discovery of the lesula comes the responsibility of conserving it in the wild.
Monkeying around in the Cabinet:

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