The Amazon rainforest is revered for its incredible biodiversity, and a new mammal has joined the ranks. Researchers discovered what they believed to be a new species of titi monkey in Brazil a few years ago. The new species has now been officially described in the journal Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia.
The species was first identified during an expedition along the Roosevelt River by Julio César Dalponte in 2011. The monkey was viewed as distinct from other members of the Callicebus genus because of its bright, orange-colored tail and other distinctive patterns in the fur, such as sideburns and gray forehead stripes. These and other differences in the monkey’s morphology were used to rule this as a distinct species.
The new species has been formally named Callicebus miltoni in honor of primatologist Milton Thiago de Mello. Thiago de Mello has spent his career educating other primatologists in Brazil, and has been an outspoken advocate for conservation.
"It goes without saying that we are really excited about this new discovery," co-author Felipe Ennes Silva from Brazil’s Conservation Leadership Programme said in a press release. "It is always thrilling to find something new in the Amazon, as it reminds us just how special this rainforest is and how lucky we are to have it on our doorstep.”
Image credit: Adriano Gambarini
As with other titi monkeys, C. miltoni, or Milton’s titi monkey as it is commonly called, reproduce in monogamous pairs. The monkeys sit next to one another and intertwine tails, which is incredibly adorable and can be seen in the image above.
At this point, it’s too early to tell what the population trends for this species has been. However, habitat destruction in the region through deforestation or forest fire could threaten the future of this monkey. While the researchers believe they are fortunate to have access to the amazing trove of biodiversity that is the Amazon rainforest, they are not taking it for granted and know that much work must be done in order to preserve it.
“[I]t will take more than luck if we are to keep making scientific finds like this,” Silva cautioned. “The rainforest is under threat like never before, and it will take dedicated, hard work – not just by conservationists but by the government and every other sector of society too – to make sure that this forest ecosystem can continue to support a wide diversity of life and help regulate our planet's climate."
[Hat tip: Fauna & Flora International]
All images credited to Adriano Gambarini and have been used with permission.