Nepal | May 27, 2020

Nepali Assamese monkeys may be a separate species

Himalayan News Service
Share Now:
Assamese monkeys in Nepal

Assamese monkeys found in Nepal have white fur on their neck. Photo Courtesy: Dr Mukesh Kumar Chalise

Kathmandu, November 20

In the fifth Asian Primate Symposium held in Sri Lanka from 17 to 22 October this year, eminent primatologists have agreed that the Nepali Assamese monkeys may be a separate species from Assamese monkeys found elsewhere.

Primatologist and wildlife expert Dr Mukesh Kumar Chalise, one of the participants from Nepal, had presented a detailed report for the symposium.

The Assam macaque (Macaque assamensis), more commonly called the Assamese monkey, is a macaque of the Old World monkey family listed as Near Threatened by IUCN since 2008. Assamese monkeys generally live at a height of around 600 metres to 1800 metres from the sea level, and have a yellowish-grey to dark-brown fur.

“But the Assamese monkeys in Nepal live around 150 metres to over 2500 metres from sea level, and have white fur around their necks and face and varies greatly from that of other Assamese monkeys in other parts of the world,” Dr Chalise said.

He added “Such variation in coloration and distribution for Assamese monkeys have not been recorded in any part of the world. Primatologists must therefore explore the possibility that the Assamese monkeys in Nepal are a separate species and continue research on the matter.”

Scientists have now started genetic analysis of the Nepali Assamese monkeys . In Nepal, the Assamese monkey is found in Chatara of Koshi region, which is 150 metres above sea level, in Bridim of Rasuwa, which is around 2528 metres above sea level and in Khayokot of Darchula, around 2500 metres above sea level.

Dr Chalise said “The body and facial coloration for the Nepali Assamese monkeys also differ in males and females from what is so far described for the population of this species.

However, further taxonomic investigation is needed before confirming that they are a separate species.”

Dr Chalise and his team members have been researching on the Nepali Assamese monkeys since 1997.

A genetic analysis of the Nepali Assamese monkeys will be of great significance in understanding the evolution and dispersal of these macaques along the Himalayan foothills.

A version of this article appears in print on November 21, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Gharial crocodiles, Chitwan National Park

Ghariyal journeys 1,062 km to Hoogli

Chitwan, May 25 A gharial released in a river in Nepal has travelled over a thousand kilometres in the past two months. It was found in a river in India. According to Chitwan National Park Assistant Conservation Officer Bed Bahadur Khadka, a gharial with tagged number 687, which was released i Read More...

Armyworm severely affects maize production

Kathmandu, May 25 The American armyworm has severely affected maize farming across the country this year as compared to previous year, hitting farmers who have already had to bear the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Centre for Crop Development and Agro Bio-Diversity Conservatio Read More...

Budget expectations

The government is all set to announce the budget for next fiscal year on Thursday and people involved in different sectors have various expectations. Amid this, The Himalayan Times spoke to a few tourism entrepreneurs who were not satisfied with the government’s policies and programmes to learn ab Read More...

Over 10,000 Nepalis enter country from Jamunaha border point in four days

NEPALGUNJ: Over 10,000 Nepalis have entered the country from Jamunaha border point in Banke district amid nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19. A large number of migrant workers returning from India have been gathering at the border point with the easing of Read More...

UN virus therapy trial pauses hydroxychloroquine testing

GENEVA: The World Health Organization said Monday that it will temporarily drop hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malarial drug US President Trump says he is taking — from its global study into experimental COVID-19 treatments, saying that its experts need to review all available evidence to date. Read More...

PMEP to be promoted as major source of employment next fiscal

Kathmandu, May 25 The government is preparing to promote the Prime Minister Employment Programme (PMEP) as the major source of employment for those who have lost or will lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 and for returnee migrant workers through the budget for the next fiscal year. The Minist Read More...

NRB directs BFIs to categorise banknotes based on quality

Kathmandu, May 25 Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has directed banks and financial institutions (BFIs) to categorise banknotes based on their quality — new, clean and useless. Issuing a nine-point circular on Sunday, the central bank directed BFIs to categorise banknotes accordingly and maintain the Read More...

Trump honours war dead in events coloured by pandemic's threat

BALTIMORE: President Donald Trump honoured America’s war dead Monday in back-to-back Memorial Day appearances coloured by an epic struggle off the battlefield, against the coronavirus. Eager to demonstrate national revival from the pandemic, Trump doubled up on his public schedule, while threa Read More...