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New species of peccary found in Amazon

By on November 12, 2007 in EDGE Updates, Uncategorized

A new species of peccary has recently been found in the Rio Aripuanã river basin in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. This newly discovered species, the Giant peccary (Pecari maximus) is the fourth known species of peccary after the collared peccary, the white-lipped peccary and the Chacoan peccary.

Although recently discovered this species was well known by locals who call it “Caitetu munde” meaning “great peccary which lives in pairs”.

Peccaries are members of the order Artiodactyla which includes swine and hippopotami.

This new species of peccary shows distinct genetic and morphological differences from the previously known species and is almost twice the weight of its nearest relative and measures over four feet. It has entirely dark grey fur with no collars and unlike other peccary species lives in pairs with one or two offspring and does not have any scent glands. This adaptation is thought to aid in predator avoidance.

Spotted by a Dutch biologist, Marc van Roosmalen of the University of Leiden during field surveys in the region, this new named species is hoped to highlight the need to protect these areas of rainforest containing unique biodiversity.

The discovery of a new peccary species may affect the EDGE scores of the other peccaries in future editions of the EDGE list. The presence of another peccary species in the evolutionary tree will mean that the ED scores for the known species will be slightly lower. However, peccaries are still very evolutionarily distinct and they are likely to remain high priorities for conservation, particularly if they continue to be threatened. We will update the EDGE scores as soon as a new supertree is created. See for more information on how EDGE scores are calculated.