Lesula Essay

Submitted By taraul99
Words: 829
Pages: 4

In June 2007, a previously undescribed monkey known locally as “lesula” was found in the forests of the middle Lomami Basin in central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This new species is known as Cercopithecus lomamiensis. C. lomamiensis is restricted to the lowland rain forests of central DRC between the middle Lomami and the upper Tshuapa Rivers. C. lomamiensis represents only the second new species of African monkey to be discovered in the past 28 years. The new species is a member of the tribe Cercopithecini, commonly referred to as guenons, which represents the most speciose clade of extant African primates. The lesulas live in this isolated region in groups up to five strong, and feeds on fruit and leafy plants. The males weigh up to 15 pounds (7 kilograms), about twice the size of the females. They have giant blue backsides. This vulnerable creature appears saddened by its plight as popular prey for hunters seeking bushmeat. The Lesula had strikingly large, almost human like, eyes, a pink face and golden mane. Far to the east, across several large river systems, the Owl Face is aptly named. Its sunken eyes are set deep in a dark face, a white stripe running down from its brow to its mouth. The Lesula's range covers an area of about 6,500 square miles between the Lomani and Tshuapa Rivers. The species has been discovered just as it is being threatened with being hunted and eaten into extinction. The first lesula found was a young captive animal seen in 2007 in a school director’s compound in the town of Opala in the Democratic Republic of Congo. John Hart first came across the new species in June 2007 when he and a field team were shown a captive baby lesula, kept as a pet by the local school director's daughter in the remote village of Opala. The lesula is apart of the Cercopithecini family, which are commonly referred to as guenons. It's most similar to the owl-faced monkey (Cercopithecus hamlyni), which is also found in the region. But the lesula sports a lighter coat and has unique calls and can be easily differentiated by its blond chin and upper chest, in contrast to its dark limbs. Genetic testing, furthermore, proves the species are distinct from each other and have likely been separated for a few million years, probably by impassable rivers. It has a blond chin and upper chest, in contrast to its dark limbs. It has a reddish-colored lower back and tail and adult males have a huge bare patch of skin in the buttocks, testicles and perianal area. The first lesula seen by researchers was the pet of a schoolgirl. It bore a strong resemblance to another species, the owl-faced monkey, but the unusual coloring made the researchers suspect it was something new. They feed on fruit and leafy plants and are shy and quiet. When the lesula dies its but turns white. The species’ medium-sized frame is covered in brown fur with a distinct amber patch running down its back, and its legs and most of the length of its tail are a striking black. Its…