The lesula looks similar to the owl-faced monkey, but genetic testing confirmed that it is a distinct species. "This was a totally unexpected find, and we knew we had something unusual and possibly unknown when we first saw the animal. But it was not until we had the genetic and morphological analyses of our collaborating team that we knew we really had a new species," the Harts told the Guardian.
Since then, other wild lesula have been spotted in a remote central area of the DRC. These monkeys live in small groups of one to five and feed on fruits, flower buds and vegetation. Their habitat is limited to roughly 16,834 square kilometres of lowland rainforest (6,500 square miles) and is sparsely populated, but researchers warn that the monkeys are vulnerable to extinction because of hunters looking for bush meat.