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 Our studies on mating of the manned sloth as well of other hitherto unpublished records of newborn sloths seen in the wild, together with a review of previous information, indicate that B. torquatus is a seasonal breeder.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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Beebe W (1926) The three-toed sloth Bradypus cuculliger cuculliger Wagler. Zoologica 7:1–67
Bezerra BM, Souto AS, Halsey LG, Schiel N (2008) Observation of brown-throated three-toed sloths: mating behavior and the simultaneous nurturing of two young. J Ethol 16:175–178
Cassano CR (2006) Ecologia e conservação da preguiça-de-coleira (Bradypus torquatus Illiger, 1811) no sul da Bahia. MSc thesis. Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Ilhéus
Cavigelli SA, Pereira ME (2000) Mating season aggression and fecal testosterone levels in male ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). Horm Behav 37:246–255
Chiarello AG (1998a) Activity budgets and ranging patterns of the Atlantic forest maned sloth Bradypus torquatus (Xenarthra: Bradypodidae). J Zool 246:1–10
Chiarello AG (1998b) Diet of the Atlantic forest maned sloth Bradypus torquatus (Xenarthra: Bradypodidae). J Zool 246:11–19
Chiarello AG (2008) Sloth ecology: an overview of field studies In: Vizcaino SF, Loughry WJ (eds) The biology of the Xenarthra. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, pp 269–280
Chiarello AG, Chivers DJ, Bassi C, Maciel MAF, Moreira LS, Bazzalo M (2004) A translocation experiment for the conservation of maned sloths, Bradypus torquatus (Xenarthra, Bradypodidae). Biol Conserv 118:421–430
Chiarello AG, Lara-Ruiz P, Members of the Edentate Specialist Group (2006) Bradypus torquatus. In: IUCN 2006: 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed 19 June 2007
Enders RK (1935) Mammalian life histories from Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Bull Mus Comp Zool 78:385–502
Gilmore DP, Costa CP (1995) The three-toed sloth in biomedical research: an update on the reproductive and endocrine systems. Med Sci Res 23:579–581
Gilmore DP, Costa CP, Valenca M, Duarte DPF, Wilson CA, Gray CE (1991) Effects of exogenous LHRH on plasma LH and sex steroid levels in the three-toed sloth Bradypus tridactylus. Med Sci Res 19:333–335
Gilmore DP, Costa CP, Cabral A, Duarte DPF, Montgomery I, Wilson CA (1994) Further studies on reproductive function in three-toed sloth Bradypus tridactylus. Med Sci Res 22:255–256
Gilmore D, Duarte DF, Costa CP (2008) The physiology of two- and three-toed sloths. In: Vizcaino SF, Loughry WJ (eds) The biology of the Xenarthra. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, pp 130–142
Goffart M (1971) Function and form in the sloth. Pergamon Press, Oxford
von Hardenberg A, Bassano P, Peracino A, Lovari S (2000) Male alpine chamois occupy territories at hotspots before the mating season. Ethology 106:617–630
IBGE (1992) Mapa de Vegetação do Brasil. Fundação Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica (IBGE), Rio de Janeiro
IUCN (2006) 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed 16 August 2007
Lara-Ruiz P, Chiarello AG (2005) Life history traits and sexual dimorphism of the Atlantic Forest maned sloth, Bradypus torquatus (Xenarthra: Bradypodidae). J Zool 267:1–11
Lara-Ruiz P, Srbek-Araujo AC (2006) Comportamento potencialmente reprodutivo da preguiça-comum, Bradypus variegatus (Xenarthra, Bradypodidae): observações de campo. Edentata 7:44–46
Luederwaldt H (1918) Observações sobre a preguiça (Bradypus tridactylus L.) em liberdade e no captiveiro. Rev Mus Paulista 10:795–812
McDonough CM, Loughry WJ (2008) Behavioral ecology of armadillos In: Vizcaino SF, Loughry WJ (eds) The biology of the Xenarthra. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, pp 281–293
McNab BK (1985) Energetics, population biology and distribution of xenarthrans, living and extinct. In: Montgomery GG (ed) The evolution and ecology of Armadillos, Sloths and Vermilinguas. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C., pp 219–232
Mendes SL, Padovan MP (2000) A Estação Biológica de Santa Lúcia, Santa Teresa, Espírito Santo. Bol Mus Biol Mello Leitão (N Sér) 11/12:7–34
Montgomery GG, Sunquist ME (1974) Contact-distress calls of young sloths. J Mamm 55:211–213
Mühlbauer M, Duarte DPF, Gilmore DP, Costa CP (2006) Fecal stradiol and progesterone metabilite levels in the three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus). Braz J Med Biol Res 39:289–295
Van Parijs SM, Hastie GD, Thompson PM (1999) Geographical variation in temporal and spatial vocalization patterns of male harbour seals in the mating season. Anim Behav 58:1231–1239
Pinder L (1993) Body measurements, karyotype, and birth frequencies of maned sloth (Bradypus torquatus). Mammalia 57:43–48
Queiroz HL (1995) Preguiças e guaribas, os mamíferos folívoros arborícolas do Mamirauá. CNPq e Sociedade Civil Mamirauá, Brazil
Richard-Hansen C, Taube E (1997) Note on the reproductive behavior of the three-toed sloth Bradypus tridactylus in French Guiana. Mammalia 61:259–263
Taube E, Keravec J, Vié J-C, Duplantier J-M (2001) Reproductive biology and postnatal development in sloths, Bradypus and Choloepus: review with original data from the field (French Guiana) and from captivity. Mamm Rev 31:173–188
Toyama Y, Calderon FU, Quesada R (1990) Ultrastructural study of crystalloids in Sertoli cells of the three-toed sloth (Bradypus tridactylus). Cell Tissue Res 259:599–602
Urbani B, Bosque C (2007) Feeding ecology and postural behaviour of the three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegates flaccidus) in northern Venezuela. Mamm Biol 72:321–329
Vizcaino SF, Loughry WJ (2008) The biology of the Xenarthra. University Press of Florida, Gainesville
Wetzel RM (1982) Systematics, distribution, ecology, and conservation of South American edentates. In: Mares MA, Genoways HH (eds) Mammalian biology in South America. University of Pittsburgh, Linesville, pp 345–375
Wilson DE, Reeder DM (2005) Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference, 3rd edn. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore
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.
About this article
Cite this article
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
- Atlantic forest
- Endangered species