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New slow loris species discovered in Borneo

Published on Dec 15, 2012 6:06 AM
This handout picture supplied on 17 July, 2011 by the Danau Girang Field Center and taken on June 30, 2011 shows a Slow Loris before being caught at Sabah Girang field center on Borneo Island in Malaysia as Malaysian wildlife researchers have tagged a Bornean Slow Loris for the first time to study the protected species threatened by illegal pet trade. A new study revealed December 12, 2012 that a type of slow loris (Nycticebus) found across South East Asia, from Bangladesh and China’s Yunnan province to the island of Borneo, is rare among primates for having a toxic bite, and is rated as Vulnerable or Endangered on the IUCN Red List. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Researchers have discovered a new slow loris species in the jungles of Borneo, according to findings published this week in the American Journal of Primatology.

Known for its toxic bite, the slow loris - a nocturnal primate found across South-east Asia - is closely related to a lemur and is characterised by unique fur coloration on its face and body.

An international team of scientists pinpointed the new species, found in Borneo's central-east highland area, by studying the distinctive colourings of the faces of the animals.

"Differences among these facemasks resulted in recognition of four species of Borneaon and Philippine lorises," the statement said. "Of these, Nycticebus kayan is a new group unrecognised before as distinct." The team's analysis also recognised two other species, previously considered as possible sub-species, as unique.

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