A new species of old world monkey recorded from Arunachal Pradesh has been named after a strategic mountain pass


  • The new species is named after Sela Pass, which is a strategic mountain pass at 13,700 ft above sea level
  • The species is identified by a team of experts from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and the University of Calcutta.
  • Sela Pass is situated between Dirang and Tawang towns in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.


  • Phylogenetic analysis reveals that Sela macaques are geographically separated by Sela Pass from  Arunachal macaques (Macaca munzala) in the Tawang district. 
  • Phylogenetics relate to the evolutionary development and diversification of a species or group of organisms.  
  • Sela Macaque is known to be genetically different from  other monkey species  reported from this area. 
  • In this study, Sela macaques are described as being genetically closer to  Arunachal macaques. 
  • The two share some similar physical characteristics, such as a strong figure and long dorsal body hair. 
  • Both species have troops that avoids humans or are accustomed to human existence. 
  • There are some distinct morphological features to distinguish the two species. 
  • Sela macaques have a pale face and brown coat, while Arunachal macaques have a dark face and dark brown coat. 
  • Sela macaques have longer tails than Tibetan macaques, Assam macaques, Arunachal macaques, and white-cheeked macaques, but shorter than bonnet macaque and toque macaque. 
  • The macaque belongs to the Sinica species group of Macaca, but is distinguished from all other members of this group by features such as a brown collar hair and muzzle, thick brown hair around the neck and the absence of chin whiskers. 
  • Sela macaque is the leading cause of crop loss in the West Kameng district of Arunachal

Zoological Survey of India

  • The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), a subordinate organization of the Ministry of Environment and Forests was established in 1916.
  • It is a national center for faunistic survey and exploration of the resources leading to the advancement of knowledge on the exceptionally rich faunal diversity of the country.
  • It has its headquarters in Kolkata and 16 regional stations located in different geographic locations of the country.