The new species was found in studies of the Program for Primate Monitoring
conducted by Teles Pires HPP | Photo: R.Costa-Araújo
The Program for Primate Monitoring, carried out in compliance with the environmental license for the Teles Pires Hydroelectric Power Plant, controlled by Neoenergia, has directly contributed to the discovery of a new primate species, the Schneider's marmoset (Mico schneideri). Belonging to the group of Amazon marmosets, the monkey was identified in its habitat in Mato Grosso, one of the power plant's areas of influence, which is located on the border of Pará and Mato Grosso states, in the municipalities of Jacareacanga (PA) and Paranaíta (MT). The Teles Pires HPP initiative is part of a series of 44 programs and social and environmental actions carried out by Neoenergia in the region, which have already been responsible for identifying other new species, such as the zogue-zogue primate, three different types of fish and an orchid.
The identification of the Schneider's marmoset is the result of a six-year research work done by a series of specialists who contributed to the monitoring, collection and analysis of items such as DNA, morphology, structure and coat of the monkey, to then define the marmoset as a new species, named Mico schneideri in honor of Horacio Schneider, the pioneer of Neotropical primate phylogenetics. The environment manager of Teles Pires HPP, Ivan Sobreira Neto, highlights the relevance of the study. "Through our flora and fauna monitoring programs, we were able to map many existing species and also discover new ones. The Amazon region is rich in biodiversity and initiatives like this contribute to science, besides being important milestones towards the preservation of the environment".
Professor Dr. Fabiano Rodrigues Melo from the Federal University of Viçosa (MG) was part of the team of researchers responsible for monitoring the program and reinforces the results achieved. "The Amazon marmosets of the Mico kind are endemic, little known of the region and, therefore, a priority for research and conservation efforts. Therefore, environmental studies are fundamental for the economic sustainability of the country and we saw in practice the achievements obtained when you have professionals and companies with good technical capacity and a sensitive and appropriate direction for the conduct and validation of research."
The study was led by researcher Rodrigo Costa Araújo, who had the Schneider's marmoset as one of the study objects of his doctorate. "Besides the personal satisfaction for having brought new primate species to the knowledge of science and society, this type of research is fundamental to know the biodiversity of the largest tropical forest on the planet. Basic research on biodiversity is the basis for any initiative of nature conservation and mitigation of environmental impacts because, simply, we cannot protect or manage species that we do not know. I hope that this successful partnership will be strengthened and expanded, so that we can generate new discoveries in the region of the Juruena and Teles Pires rivers and thus contribute to understanding and conserving species.
This is not the first discovery of new species made by the monitoring and preservation initiatives of fauna, flora and physical environment in the regions of influence of the Teles Pires HPP. In 2019, a primate named Plecturocebus grovesi (zogue-zogue-de-Groves) was identified. The name is a tribute to British professor Colin Groves, one of the world's leading authorities on primate taxonomy.
In the same year three new fish species were described as part of the plant's Program for Ichthyofauna Monitoring and Studying. The new species are Myleus pachyodus (family Serrasalmidae), Ageneiosus apiaka (family Auchenipteridae), and Hyphessobrycon pinnistriatus (no family defined). Finally, on the list of discoveries is an orchid baptized Catasetum telespirense Benelli & Soares-Lopes.
"Through our programs and social and environmental actions foreseen in the Environmental Licensing, we seek the economic, social, and environmental balance of the region where we are present. With a job well done, we have reaped great results in Teles Pires, which represent excellent achievements for biodiversity and the environment," says Neoenergia's environmental analyst, João Cabeza.
Conducted since 2012, the scientific studies made in partnership with universities and other institutions in the forest areas around the plant, found a high diversity of fauna and flora, with the presence of many rare species. The program has inventoried 6,322 trees of 322 different species and another 2,690 plants of 254 species that make up the forest in the area of implementation of the project and around the reservoir. All have been catalogued and are periodically monitored, for their protection.