Arunachal Pradesh, known for its wide variety of fauna, came to light with a new species of monkeys called white-cheeked macaque (Macaca leucogenys), which was photographed in Anjaw district.
The new species was found in southeastern Tibet last year Dr Li Cheng and his group from Modog of Tibet in China. In India, the discovery of the new species was found by the team comprising Dr Ranjan Kumar Das, Udayan Borthakur and Dr Dilip Chetry, said a news report in Assam Tribune.
The species differs from others such as Rhesus macaque, Arunachal macaque, Tibetan macaque and Assamese macaque with its special characteristics like uniform dorsal hair pattern, hairy ventral pelage, relative hairless short tail, prominent pale to white side, and chin-whiskers creating a white cheek and a round facial appearance, dark facial skin on the muzzle, long and thick hair on its neck, and round rather than arrow-shaped male genitalia.
“The macaques we observed and photographed in Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh are white-cheeked macaque,” said Dr Dilip Chetry, primatologist and the head of Primatology Division at wildlife NGO Aaranyak said.
Dr Li last year announced the species “white-cheeked macaque” based on 738 photos taken during direct observations and captured by camera traps exhibiting a suite of pelage characteristics. The two adult females — one is the female, photographed on January 24, 2014 and the other female was photographed on January 28, 2014 by Li and his team in Tibet.
“This new macaque species was found to exploit a diverse set of habitat types from tropical forest at 1395 m, to primary and secondary evergreen broad-leaved forest at 2000 metres, as well as mixed broadleaf-conifer forest at 2700 metres, said Dr Li.
Its range may extend to neighboring counties in Tibet and Arunachal Pradesh in India, which lies on the southeastern side of Tibet. The white-cheeked macaque is threatened by illegal hunting and human intervention in the form of the construction of hydropower stations in the region.
THE WHITE-CHEEKED MACAQUE
Order Primates Linnaeus, 1758
Superfamily Cercopithecoidea Gray, 1821
Family Cercopithecidae Gray, 1821
Genus Macaca Lacépède, 1799
Macaca Leucogenys Species Novum