José Vicente Barbosa du Bocage
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 week
Some facts about this mammal:
Body length: 27–38 cm.
Tail length: 12–22 cm.
Weight: 260–520 grams.
Habitat: Dry open spaces; sometimes found in bushes and forest edges of semi-arid areas.
Distribution: From southeast Europe to Russia and China.
Diet: Chiefly feeds on rodents, occasionally on small birds, lizards, fish, frogs, snails, and insects.
Surviving number: Unknown.
Conservation status: Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)
First described: By the German naturalist and explorer Johann Anton Güldenstädt in 1770, originally named as Mustela peregusna.
Vormela peregusna wears a very special perfume: when it is threatened, it throws its head back, displays its coloring and emits a noxious defensive odor. If all this doesn't have the desired effect, it just drops down and plays dead. This elusive hunter employs offensive strategies as well, such as approaching and attacking from the side. By using such techniques, it can overcome pray larger than itself during its forays at dusk, down and throughout the night. The marbled polecat has nevertheless more trouble then it can handle in one realm: its steppe habitat is shrinking in Europe and Asia making this species status vulnerable.