A new, pseudo-cryptic species of the Amazonian marmoset genus Mico has been identified by a team of researchers led by Dr. Rodrigo Costa-Araújo of the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi and the Federal University of Amazonas and Dr. Tomas Hrbek of the Federal University of Amazonas and Trinity University.
“Amazonia has the richest primate fauna in the world,” said Dr. Costa-Araújo, Dr. Hrbek and their colleagues.
“There are 146 primate species and subspecies in the region, representing 20% of the global primate diversity.”
“Nonetheless, the diversity and distribution of Amazonian primates remain little known and the scarcity of baseline data challenges their conservation.”
“These challenges are especially acute in the Amazonian arc of deforestation, the 2,500-km-long southern edge of the Amazonian biome that is rapidly being deforested and converted to agricultural and pastoral landscapes.”
“Amazonian marmosets of the genus Mico are little known endemics of this region and therefore a priority for research and conservation efforts.”
Named the Schneider’s marmoset (Mico schneideri), the new Mico species was described from marmosets known to science since 1995, but misidentified as the Snethlage’s marmoset (Mico emiliae).
“One of the main taxonomic, distributional, and evolutionary uncertainties in Mico species concern the Snethlage’s marmoset,” the scientists said.
“The pelage color of this species has confounded researchers for a century hindering accurate assessments of the taxonomy and distribution of this and other five Mico species, as well as the assessment of species diversity in this genus.”
The Schneider’s marmoset is endemic to the Juruena-Teles Pires interfluve in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso.
The species distribution is limited by the Juruena River to the west and by the Teles Pires River to the east, proceeding north to their confluence.
The southern portion of the species range is less well-defined, but it extends to the headwaters of the Juruena and Teles Pires rivers, but no further south than the city of Lucas do Rio Verde.
“Characterizing primate species diversity and distribution in the Amazonian arc of deforestation is a necessary first step on which an entire science-based conservation effort depends and which lends support to biodiversity conservation in this region before the entire biome reaches an environmental point of no return,” the authors said.
A paper of the discovery of the Schneider’s marmoset was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
R. Costa-Araújo et al. 2021. An integrative analysis uncovers a new, pseudo-cryptic species of Amazonian marmoset (Primates: Callitrichidae: Mico) from the arc of deforestation. Sci Rep 11, 15665; doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-93943-w