Professor Anna Nekaris PhD

Professor in Anthropology and Course Leader, MSc Primate Conservation

Prof Anna Nekaris is a Professor in Anthropology and Primate Conservation studying the unique group of evolutionary distinct primates known as the Asian lorises.  Her studies cover all eleven species, including six she named or elevated from subspecies.  Anna is the Course Tutor for the highly acclaimed MSc in Primate Conservation, Director of the Little Fireface Project and Convenor of the Nocturnal Primate Research Group. She completed her BA in Anthropology at the University of Missouri Columbia,USA in 1993, followed by a Certificat d’Universite de Primatologie from theUniversite de Louis Pasteur Strasbourg France in 1994 and her PhD in Anthropology at Washington University St Louis, USA in 2000. Anna’s research on lorises ranges from behavioural ecology in zoos, rescue centres and in the wild, museum studies, genetics, acoustics, taxonomy, conservation education and now a novel study of chemical ecology and how this bizarre primate is one of the only mammals that produces venom.  Despite reports of this extraordinary phenomenon 40 years ago, virtually nothing is known about how slow lorises use venom. She has supervised more than 60 postgraduate students. Anna is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Folia Primatologica, the journal of the European Society of Primatology. 



  • Undergraduate: Methods and Analysis in Biological Anthropology
  • Undergraduate: Introduction to Biological Anthropology


  • Postgraduate: Primate Conservation - Conservation Education
  • Postgraduate: Independent study in lemurs and nocturnal primates
  • Postgraduate: MSc Primate Conservation Final Project


I focus on the behaviour, ecology, taxonomy and conservation of nocturnal mammals. I work mainly in Asia, where I have conducted research in 12 countries. I am a long-standing member of the Nocturnal Primate Research Group and Director of the Little Fireface Project, a charity and research project that works to conserve understudied obscure nocturnal mammals. The main countries where I have conducted my work are India (slow and slender lorises); Sri Lanka (langurs, macaques, slender lorises, civets, small cats); Cambodia (pygmy slow lorises) and Indonesia, where I now run a long-term project on the Critically Endangered slow loris. Topics of my work have included: evolution of venom in mammals, thermoregulation in slow lorises, evolution of exudativory in primates, and using morphology to distinguish species. 

Research interests

  • Conservation
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Speciation
  • Fragmentation
  • Nocturnal mammals and colobines

Postdoctoral research Fellows

Dr Marie Sigaud: understanding resource selection by Javan slow lorises in an ever-changing agroforest in West Java

Research students

  • Francis Cabana, Wild Bites:  Using Nutritional Ecology (Native Ingredients and Chemical Composition) of the Javan Slow Loris  to Improve Captive Feeding Husbandry
  • Stephanie Poindexter: Cognition and Conservation: measuring spatial cognition in slow lorises and its application to reintroduction practices in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia
  • Katie Reinhardt: Energetics in a changing climate: implications for behavioural and evolutionary adaptations of the Javan slow loris
  • Averee Luhrs: Perodicticinae and primate origins: investigating the niche of the pottos and angwantibos in the context of evolutionary theory with implications for modern-day management
  • Miguel de Guinea: Cognitive maps in black howler monkeys at Palenque National Park, Mexico


  • PhD and MA in Biological Anthropology, Washington University, St Louis.
  • Certificat de Primatologie, Universite Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France.
  • BA in Biological Anthropology, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA.

Current positions

  • Professor in Primate Conservation
  • Course Tutor MSc Primate Conservation


  • Journal articles

Journal articles