Researchers have discovered a new species of titi monkey in a Peruvian nature reserve in the Amazon.
The species was named the Aquino stump-tailed monkey (Cheracebus aquinoi) in honour of Rolando Aquino, a prestigious Peruvian primatologist and professor at the National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru.
It was discovered during research at the National Reserve Allpahuayo-Mishana on Tuesday, 18th October.
This protected area is located southwest of the city of Iquitos, Loreto region, Peru and was established in 2004 to protect the diverse forest types in the area.
The species was spotted by scientists from the non-profit Civil Association Yunkawasi, which promotes the conservation of biodiversity in Peru.
Peruvian primatologist, anthropologist and the executive director of Yunkawasi Fanny M. Cornejo who contributed to the study said: “There is still much to discover regarding the diversity of primates in Peru.
“In this publication, we have combined both morphological and genetic evidence to describe this new species for science.”
The newly discovered species differs from other species of its genus by its reddish-brown pelage and its intense reddish-brown crown.
It also has a neck patch in the shape of a cream-coloured collar that reportedly looks like a bow tie.
It was previously believed to belong to the Lucifer titi (Cheracebus lucifer) species, native to the area around the interfluve north of the Solimoes and Napo Rivers, and south of the Japura River.
The researchers emphasised the importance to protect the new species because of its small distribution in habitats threatened by urban expansion and poor agricultural practices.
Gold mining near the Nanay River Basin contributes to its habitat destruction, according to the scientists.
Primatologist at the German Primate Centre Eckhard W. Heymann said: “In 2002 we already considered the possibility that this is a new species.
“I am very happy that this has been verified and even happier that it honours the most prestigious Peruvian primatologist, my friend and colleague Rolando Aquino.”
Lead study author Edgardo Rengifo said: “Describing a species of primate is very important to contribute to the knowledge of Peruvian biodiversity.
“Personally, as a graduate of the National University of the Peruvian Amazon in Iquitos, I am very happy to be able to present an endemic species from Loreto.
“On the other hand, the name of the species recognizes the primatologist Rolando Aquino, who has encouraged, advised and trained numerous Peruvian researchers, including several of the authors of this study.”
Peru is the third country with the greatest diversity of primates in the world that provides a home for over 40 species, of which seven are indigenous.
Around 30 per cent of the species living in Peru can be found in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.