The slow loris (Nycticebus) is a primate genus closely related to the lemur and found across South East Asia, from Bangladesh and China's Yunnan province to the island of Borneo.
The slow loris is rare amongst primates for having a toxic bite, and is rated as Vulnerable or Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Maybe not so endangered, since researchers have found a brand new species.
A team's analysis of the primate's distinctive facial fur markings, published in the American Journal of Primatology, reveals the existence of one entirely new species, while two possible sub-species are being officially recognized as unique.
Slow lorises are recognized by their unique fur coloration on the body and face, yet while traits such as fur patterns are often used to distinguish between species; nocturnal species are cryptic in coloration and have less obvious external differences.
The team's research focused on the distinctive colorings of Borneo's slow loris, whose faces have an appearance of a mask, with the eyes being covered by distinct patches and their heads having varying shapes of caps on the top.
"Technological advances have improved our knowledge about the diversity of several nocturnal mammals," said Rachel Munds from the University of Missouri Columbia. "Historically many species went unrecognized as they were falsely lumped together as one species. While the number of recognized primate species has doubled in the past 25 years some nocturnal species remain hidden to science."
Differences among these facemasks resulted in recognition of four species of Bornean and Philippine lorises, N menagensis, N. bancanus, N. borneanus and N. kayan. Of these Nycticebus kayan is a new group unrecognized before as distinct. This new species is found in the central-east highland area of Borneo and is named for a major river flowing in its region, the Kayan.
Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Nycticebus In Borneo: New Species Of Primate, Same Toxic Bite.