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Bradypus variegatus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA PILOSA BRADYPODIDAE

Scientific Name: Bradypus variegatus
Species Authority: Schinz, 1825
Common Name/s:
English Brown-throated Sloth, Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth, Bolivian Three-toed Sloth
French Paresseux Tridactyle De Bolivie, Aï De Bolivie, Bradype, Paresseux Tridactyle
Spanish Guasa, Perezoso Bayo, Perezoso Grisaceo, Perezoso Tridáctilo, Perico Ligero
Taxonomic Notes:

According to Gardner (2007) seven subspecies are recognized: B. v. boliviensis (Gray, 1871); B.v. brasiliensis Blainville, 1840; B.v. ephippiger R.A. Philippi, 1870; B.v. gorgon O. Thomas, 1926; B.v. infuscatus Wagler, 1831; B.v. trivittatus Cornalia, 1849; and B.v. variegates Schinz, 1825.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-05-27
Assessor/s: Chiarello, A., Moraes-Barros, N. & Plese, T.
Reviewer/s: Abba, A.M. & Superina, M.
Justification:
B. variegatus is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution including a large part of the Amazon forest, presumed large population, its occurrence in a number of protected areas, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. Recent phylogeographic studies reveal that B. variegatus from the Central American, Western Amazon and Atlantic forests constitute distinct and unique evolutionary units that are distinguishable by molecular and morphological traits.
History:
2006 Least Concern (IUCN 2006)
2006 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: B. variegatus ranges from Honduras in the north, through southern Central America. In South America, it ranges from Colombia into western and southern Venezuela, and south into Ecuador, eastern Peru and Bolivia, into Brazil and northern Argentina (where it is now considered to be extirpated). Its distribution overlaps with B. torquatus in the central part of the Atlantic forest (Hirsch and Chiarello unpublished data). In Brazil, the species currently occurs in forested areas of the Amazon, Atlantic forest, and Cerrado biomes. There are historical records of B. variegatus in the Caatinga biome (Moraes-Barros unpublished data 2010).
There are no confirmed records for B. variegatus in the Pantanal biome of Brazil, but the species might occur in the contact zones between this biome and the Amazon forest to the north. Additional field studies are necessary in order to properly define the current species distribution in the Cerrado, Caatinga and Pantanal.
The southernmost distribution of this sloth in Brazil was reported by Cabrera (1957) as the state of Rio Grande do Sul, which could, however, not be confirmed (Gardner 2007). It is historically absent from the state of Santa Catarina (Brazil) and northeastern Argentina; the southernmost confirmed record of the species is near Londrina, in the state of Paraná, Brazil, but today it is considered extinct in this state (Mikich and Bernils 2004). The last record from Argentina, was collected in Jujuy province and dates back to 1916 (Vizcaíno et al. 2006), but field studies specifically aiming at this species are lacking from this country. B. variegatus is found from sea level to at least 2,400 m asl (Ureña et al. 1986).
Countries:
Native:
Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; Honduras; Nicaragua; Panama; Peru; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Possibly extinct:
Argentina
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population densities of B. variegatus have been estimated at 2.2 to 6.7 animals per hectare in the Brazilian Amazon (Queiroz 1995), 8.5 animals per hectare in Panama (Montgomery and Sunquist 1975), and 0.6 to 4.5 animals per hectare in the tropical dry forest of Colombia (Acevedo and Sanchez 2007). No demographic information is available from the remaining area of distribution. B. variegatus is commonly found in public squares, where densities can reach 12.5 animals per hectare (Manchester and Jorge 2009).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: B. variegatus has been recorded from a number of forest types including seasonal mesic tropical forest, semi-deciduous forest (inland Atlantic Forest), cloud forest, and lowland tropical forest. It inhabits cacao (Theobroma cacao) plantations in Costa Rica (Vaughan et al. 2007). This sloth species produces one litter of one infant at intervals of at least 19 months (T. Plese pers. comm. 2010). Mating period varies depending on the year and geographical region, but occurs mainly in spring (i.e., from July to November in South America and from February to May in Central America).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It appears that there are no major threats to B. variegatus at the global level. Nevertheless, some populations, especially in Colombia and Brazil, are declining due to deforestation leading to severe habitat degradation and fragmentation. Furthermore, they are hunted by local indigenous communities. Wild-caught individuals, especially offspring, are sold as pets to tourists in Colombia (Moreno and Plese 2006). This illegal trade is increasing and represents a cause of concern due to its impact on the wild populations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: B. variegatus is present in many protected areas. It is included in CITES Appendix II.

Bibliography [top]

Acevedo J. F. and D. P. Sanchez. 2007. Abundancia y preferencia de hábitat de Bradypus variegatus y Choloepus hoffmanni, durante la época seca en Arboletes, Antioquia. Universidad de Antioquia.

Anderson, R. P. and Handley Jr., C. O. 2001. A new species of three-toed sloth (Mammalia: Xenarthra) from Panama, with a review of the genus Bradypus. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 114: 1-33.

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Bezerra, B. M., Souto, A. S., Halsey, L. G. and Schiel, N. 2008. Observation of brown-throated three-toed sloths: mating behaviour and the simultaneous nurturing of two young. Journal of Ethology 26: 175-178.

Cabrera, A. 1958. Catalogo de los mamiferos de America del Sur. Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturelles ‘‘Bernardino Rivadavia’’ 4: 1-732.

Cáceres, N. C. 2004. Occurrence of Conepatus chinga (Molina) (Mammalia, Carnivora, Mustelidae) and other terrestrial mammals in the Serra do Mar, Paraná, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 21(3): 577–579.

Chiarello, A. G. 2008. Sloth ecology: an overview of field studies. In: S. F. Vizcaíno and W. L. Loughry (eds), The Biology of the Xenarthra, pp. 269-280. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, FL, USA.

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Gardner, A. L. 2005. Order Pilosa. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

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Gilmore, D., Duarte, D. F. and Peres da Costa, C. 2008. The physiology of two- and three-toed sloths. In: Vizcaíno, S. F. and Loughry, W. J. (eds), The biology of the Xenarthra, pp. 130-142. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Hall, E. R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.

Hayssen, V. 2010. Bradypus variegatus (Pilosa: Bradypodidae). Mammalian Species 42(850): 19-32.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 16 June 2011).

Lord, R. 2000. Wild mammals of Venezuela. Armitano Editores, C. A., Caracas, Venezuela.

Losada, T. 2007. Conocimiento local y uso sobre los perezosos por la comunidad indígena Jusy Monilla Amena, Amazonas - Colombia. Facultad de Estudios Ambientales y Rurales, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

Manchester, A. and Jorge, W. 2009. Biological data of a population of sloths (Bradypus variegatus) in a square of Teófilo Otoni, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Naturalia 32: 81-86.

Medri, I. M., Mourão, G. M. and Rodrigues, F. H. 2006. Ordem Xenarthra. In: Reis, N. R., Perachi, A. L., Petro, W. A. and Lima, I. P. (eds), Mamíferos do Brasil, pp. 71-99. Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Londrina.

Mikich, S. B. and Bernils, R. S. 2004. Livro Vermelho do Fauna Ameaçada no Estado do Paraná. Instituto Ambiental do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil.

Montgomery, G. G. and Sunquist, M. E. 1975. Impact of sloths on Neotropical forest energy flow and nutrient cycling. In: Golley, F. B. and Medina, E. (eds), Tropical ecological systems; trends in terrestrial and aquatic research, pp. 69-98. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Moraes-Barros, N., Giorgi, A.P., Silva, S. and Morgante, J. S. 2010. Reevaluation of the geographical distribution of Bradypus tridactylus Linnaeus, 1758 and B. variegatus Schinz, 1825. Edentata 11(1): 53-61.

Moraes-Barros, N., Miyaki, C.Y. and Morgante, J.S. 2002. Genetic diversity in different populations of sloths assessed by DNA fingerprinting. Brazilian Journal of Biology 62: 503-508.

Moraes-Barros, N., Miyaki, C.Y. and Morgante, J.S. 2007. Identifying management units in non-endangered species: the example of the sloth Bradypus variegatus Schinz, 1825. Brazilian Journal of Biology 67(4): 829-837.

Moraes-Barros, N., Silva, J. A. B., Miyaki, C. Y., Morgante, J. S. 2006. Comparative phylogeography of the Atlantic forest endemic sloth (Bradypus torquatus ) and the widespread three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus) (Bradypodidae, Xenarthra). Genetica 126: 189-198.

Moreno, S. and Plese, T. 2005. Distribución actual e histórica, uso de hábitat y estimación del estado de conservación del perezoso de tres uñas (Bradypus variegatus) en el área de jurisdicción de Corantioquia. Fundación UNAU, Corantioquia, Medellín.

Moreno, S. and Plese, T. 2006. The illegal traffic in sloths and threats to their survival in Colombia. Edentata 6: 10-18.

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Taube, E., Keravec, J., Vié, J.-C. and 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 the captivity. Mammalian Review 31(3): 173-188.

Tirira, D. 1999. Mamiferos del Ecaudor. Museo de Zoologia, Centro de Biodiversidad y Ambiente, Pontifica Universidad Católica del Ecaudor and Sociedad para la Investigación y Monitoreo de la Biodiversidad Ecuatoriana, Quito, Ecuador.

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Ureña, H.M., Chacón, C.R., Faerrón, A.S. and Lizano, S.T. 1986. Hallazgo de Bradypus griseus y Choloepus hoffmanni (Edentata: Bradypodidae) en tierras altas de Costa Rica. Revista de Biología Tropical 34: 165-166.

Vaughan, C., Ramirez, O., Herrera, G. and Guries, R. 2007. Spatial ecology and conservation of two sloth species in a cacao landscape in Limón, Costa Rica. Biodiversity and Conservation 16: 2293-2310.

Vizcaíno, S. F., Abba, A. M. and García Esponda, C. 2006. Magnorden Xenarthra. In: R. M. Barquez, M. M. Díaz and R. A. Ojeda (eds), Los mamíferos de Argentina: sistemática y distribución, pp. 46-56. Sociedad Argentina para el estudio de los Mamíferos (SAREM), San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina.

Citation: Chiarello, A., Moraes-Barros, N. & Plese, T. 2011. Bradypus variegatus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 16 April 2014.
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