A new species of the “zogue-zogue” monkey has just been described and confirmed in the Amazon: it is the Plecturocebus parecis, possibly seen for the first time more than a century ago. The primate’s scientific name refers to Chapada dos Parecis, as monkeys of the species were observed in an area of the region that lies between Rondônia and Mato Grosso (MT).
“In 2011, the first individuals of zogue-zogue, seen in the municipalities of Pimenta Bueno and Vilhena, were observed. We checked articles and books to see if there was already a description or if it was a new species. Observing the morphology, the hypothesis was raised that it would be a new species. Now it has been described scientifically. It is official “, explained Almério Gusmão, a researcher at the State University of Mato Grosso (Unemat) and professor at the State Technical Center for Rural Education Abaitará (Centec Abaitará), in Pimenta Bueno ( RO).
The new discovery was published in the journal Primate Conservation. In addition to Almério, researcher Mariluce Messias, from the Federal University of Rondônia (Unir), and 13 other scientists from Acre, Pará, Sergipe and from the State University of New York, in Stony Brook, in the United States, made observations from groups of the most new “zogue-zogue”. Other records of the animal were obtained in regions of Mato Grosso.
“Now there are 24 species of Plecturocebus described. Plecturocebus parecis was recently described, in December 2019, when the publication came out,” added Mariluce Messias.
“With a white beard and a red back, he is the only one. He has another whitish yellow, but he is found farther away, with a distant kinship,” said Almério Gusmão.
The difference that jumped out to scholars was the color of the monkey. Unlike the gray coat characteristic of the Plecturocebus, the one also known as “white-bearded zogue-zogue” has a color that mixes between brown and red on the back, light tones and short hair on the hands, in addition to the whitish beard. More than 50 primate variables were investigated.
The only brief report on the species was made by the naturalist Alipio de Miranda Ribeiro, from the Rondon Telegraph Line Commission, published in his book in 1914. Alipio de Miranda described that two specimens were collected at the head of the Ji-Paraná River, in Rondônia , which apparently were the “zogue-zogue” of the Parecis.
The naturalist provisionally identified the animals, then, as Plecturocebus cinerascens. But the monkey was “forgotten” and the new “zogue-zogue” was found in nature in a region of Vilhena (RO), on the border with Mato Grosso (MT), in 2011.
“When we saw this species we realized that it was very different. But in some mammals it is common for color to vary across populations. Sometimes there are cases of animals that are very different from the coat, but when you look at the genetics it is very similar, is very close “, revealed Mariluce Messias.