Extension of the geographic distribution of Plecturocebus baptista (Pitheciidae, Primates) and a possible hybrid zone with Plecturocebus hoffmannsi: evolutionary and conservation implications

ABSTRACT Titi monkeys (family Pitheciidae) are Neotropical primates highly diversified in morphology, ecology and genetics, with a wide geographic distribution, including the Amazon, Atlantic Forest, Cerrado, Pantanal and Caatinga. This diversity, together with knowledge gaps, generates uncertainties in titi monkey taxonomy and distribution. An example is Plecturocebus baptista, with only 14 occurrence records and an ill-defined distribution based on untested geographical barriers. Here, we report the occurrence of this species at a new locality outside its known range, across the Paraná-Urariá River, which was considered a distributional limit for the species. The new record implies an overlap of P. baptista with the range of P. hoffmannsi. We document the sighting of an apparent hybrid animal. Our observations suggest that i) the distribution of P. baptista needs to be reviewed, and ii) the evolutionary relationships between P. baptista and P. hoffmannsi may be more complex than previously assumed. Since both species share contiguous areas of potential hybridization, we question whether the two species arose via allopatric speciation.