Three new slow loris primate species discovered in Borneo

According to a recently-published report in the American Journal of Primatology, three new species of the slow loris primate – a species with a toxic bite and characteristic fur markings on the face - have been discovered in the jungles of Borneo.

The discovery of the three new slow loris species was made by a team of scientists led by Rachel Munds, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri. Munds’ partners in the research included Oxford Brookes University’s Anna Nekaris, and Southern Illinois University’s Susan Ford. The researchers differentiated between the species after looking at the animals’ facemasks.

Discovered in the highlands of the island of Borneo, the new slow loris species has been given the name ‘Nycticebus kayan,’ after the ‘Kayan’ river which flows through the Borneo region. The distinguishing characteristics of the species include dark, highly contracting facemask and more feathery body hair as compared to the original species called N. menagensis.

In addition, the discovery of the new slow loris species also revealed that two species which were earlier believed to be the ‘Nycticebus genus’ sub-species were officially unique species. These two species – dubbed N.m. bancanus and N.m borneanus – are chiefly characterized by their habitats as well as their physical features.

About the implication of the discovery of three new slow loris species, lead researcher Munds said: "Four separate species are harder to protect than one, since each species needs to maintain its population numbers and have sufficient forest habitat."

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