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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

Huon Tree Kangaroo

Dendrolagus matschiei

Dendrolagus matschiei

Some facts on this kangaroo:

Head and body length: 50 to 75 cm.

Weight: About 7.5 to 10 kg.

Habitat: Montane forests, including cloud forests in high-elevation areas.

Range: The Huon peninsula of Papua New Guinea.

Diet: Mainly leaves and ferns; also sap, insects, flowers, and nuts.

Surviving number: Estimated at 2,500 adults.

Conservation status: Endangered (IUCN 3.1).

First described: By Friedrich Förster and Walter Rothschild in 1907.


Dendrolagus matschiei, like all its cousins, is a great hopper, but this kangaroo has an additional gift: it is also an exceptional climber. Using stout, muscular forearms for a strong grip, long tails for balance and broad feet with non-slip soles, it moves with ease through the forest, foraging for leaves and ferns. Males may mate with multiple females, yet the females remain independent and care for their offspring by themselves. Like their kangaroo relatives, the young crawl into their mother's pouch for safety and nourishment. Unfortunately, all the hopping and climbing can't protect this species from two threats it faces: habitat loss and hunting. The genus Dendrolagus or "Tree-kangaroos" contains 12 species adapted for life in trees. They inhabit the rainforests of New Guinea, far northeastern Queensland, and nearby islands.

See also: Species of previous months

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