Distinguished Author


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 Month

Common Seal

Common Seal Phoca vitulina.jpg

Phoca vitulina, Heligoland, Germany

Vernacular name: Common Seal, also know as Harbour Seal

Length: 140 cm (female) – 170 cm (male)

Weight: 100 kg – 150 kg

Habitat: Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Northern Hemisphere

Conservation status: Least Concern

First described: by Linnaeus in 1758

The Common Seal is an earless seal in the family Phocidae, found along temperate and arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. The most widely distributed species of the Pinnipedia (walruses, eared seals, and true seals), they are found in coastal waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Baltic and North Seas.
Among the "big five" of the northwest European Wadden Sea the Common Seal doubtless is the eyecatcher. The other four larger animals of the region are the Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus, the Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena, the White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla, and the European Sea Sturgeon Acipenser sturio.

See also: Species of previous months

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