First observation on mating and reproductive seasonality in maned sloths Bradypus torquatus (Pilosa: Bradypodidae)

Abstract

Information on mating season is of paramount importance for our understanding of reproductive behavior, yet little is currently known about the breeding season of Xenarhtra as a whole and sloths in particular. A pair of maned sloths was observed copulating in September 2005 in the Atlantic Forest region of south-eastern Brazil. Our studies on mating of the manned sloth as well of other hitherto unpublished records of newborn sloths seen in the wild, together with a review of previous information, indicate that B. torquatus is a seasonal breeder. Infants are born predominantly at the end of the wet season and beginning of the dry season (February–April), and copulation concentrates in the late dry and early wet seasons (August–October). This strategy allows for the energy-demanding gestation and lactation to take place during the less stressful period of the year.

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Acknowledgments

The observation reported here took place during the project “Demography and population viability of maned sloth, Bradypus torquatus (Xenarthra: Bradypodidae)”, administered by Valor Natural ONG (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) and funded by the Endangered Species Program from Biodiversitas Foundation (project no. 080M/022004). Mello Leitão Museum in Santa Teresa, Instituto de Pesquisas da Mata Atlântica (IPEMA) in Vitoria, and Instituto de Estudos Socioambientais do Sul da Bahia (IESB) in Ilhéus helped with the logistics. The Brazilian Environmental Agency (IBAMA) provided authorization to capture sloths in the field (permits no. 093/2005 DIREC/CGECO and no. 085/2005 DIFAP/CGFAU). Regiane Romanini helped with the data collection. The Brazilian Science Council (CNPq) provided a research grant to AGC (no. 301100/2005-5). Two anonymous reviewers helped improve the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Adriano G. Chiarello.

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Dias, B.B., Dias dos Santos, L.A., Lara-Ruiz, P. et al. First observation on mating and reproductive seasonality in maned sloths Bradypus torquatus (Pilosa: Bradypodidae). J Ethol 27, 97–103 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10164-008-0089-9

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Keywords

  • Atlantic forest
  • Copulation
  • Endangered species
  • Reproduction
  • Xenarthra