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Distinguished Author

Bocage-JV-Barbosa-du-1823-1.jpg

José Vicente Barbosa du Bocage
  (1823-1907).

A Portuguese zoologist and politician. He was the curator of Zoology at the Museum of Natural History in Lisbon. His work at the Museum consisted in acquiring, describing and coordinating collections, many of which arrived from the Portuguese colonies in Africa, such as Angola, Mozambique, etc. He published more than 200 taxonomic papers on mammals, birds, and fishes. In the 1880s he became the Minister of the Navy and later the Minister for Foreign Affairs for Portugal. The zoology collection at the Lisbon Museum is called the Bocage Museum in his honor. He was responsible for identifying many new species, which he named according to the naturalist who found them.

Species of the month

Hoffmann's Two-toed Sloth

Choloepus hoffmanni

Some facts on this mammal:

Length: 58 to 70 cm.

Weight: 4 to 8 kg.

Distribution: South America.

Hebitat: Tropical rainforest canopy from sea level to 3,300 metres.

Diet: Mainly tree leaves; may also eat fruits and flowers.

Protection status: Least Concern (IUCN 3.1).

First described: By the German zoologist and explorer. Wilhelm Peters in 1858.


Choloepus hoffmanni isn't the best candidate to win a running race. In fact this Two-toed Sloth has the record for the world's slowest mammal. So sedentary it is, that algae grows on its furry coat. The slots come in two variants: the two-toed and three-toed, identified by the number of long, prominent claws that they have on each front foot. These animals are built for life in the treetops, spending nearly all of their time aloft, hanging from branches with a powerful grip of their long claws. Choloepus hoffmanni also sleep in trees, and they do this in abundance: between 15 and 20 hours every day. Even when awake they often remain motionless. At night they eat leaves, shoots, and fruit from the trees and get almost all of their water from juicy plants. Sloths mate and give birth while hanging in the trees and their young cling to their mothers and travel by hanging onto them for the first five weeks of their lives. The name of this animal commemorates the German physician and naturalist Karl Hoffmann.

See also: Species of previous months

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