Hello my name is Dr. Dylan Wratchford and I am head of the Trichechus manatus latirostris (Florida Manatee) project at Florida State university, and Florida University. In my future as a mammalogist i would like to learn more about Florida Manatees and help others with the information i know, and to also help make the florida Manatees no longer an endangered speacies.
Some special adaptations of Florida Manatees is that their teeth are specially adapted to a herbivorous life. They do not have front teeth, only special "marching" molars. Like elephants, they have 4 sets of 6 to 8 molars. Manatees have adapted to take deeper breathes when they come up for air. In one breath people change around only 10% of the air in their lungs, but when Manatees take a breath they change around 90% of the air in their lungs.To do this, they exhale very hard when their nose breaks the surface, much like a whale or a person snorkeling under water will do.
The true color of a manatee is gray, although sometimes it may appear brownish gray. The Florida Manatee has a flatten tail used for swimming; Florida's Manatees are very slow moving creatures. A manatee's teeth are similar to the molars of some other mammals and are located in the back half of the lower and upper jaws The teeth are very unique because they are replaced horizontally, as instead of vertically like most other mammals. They have two forelimbs, called flippers, with three to four nails on each flipper for digging and clawing. A manatee's ribs are more arched than most other mammals, allowing the lungs to be positioned much higher along the vertebral column.
Manatees can be found in biomes that consist of warm waters of shallow rivers, bays, and coastal waters. They stay in waters above 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Florida Manatees can be found in either muddy or clear water, with water depths of at least three to seven feet are preferred and flats and shallows are avoided unless adjacent to deeper water. Sometimes in the winter Manatees can be found in waters beside power plants because the water is so warm. In October of 2009 a Manatee was spotted in James River right outside of Richmond Va. This picture was taking just downriver from the I-95 bridge in Richmond, Va by Joe Owen Jr., a sergeant with the Dinwiddie County Sheriff's Department
The Florida Manatee is an endangered species, the largest population of Florida Manatee's is 3,800. Since manatees spend most of their lifein the water, global warming poses significant threats to their well-being. Higher water temperatures along the Gulf Coast has lead to an increase in toxic algae blooms, such as the red tide that killed more than 150 manatees in 1996. Somecauses of human-related manateedeaths include beinghit by boats, and even some have even been found crushed or drowned in flood-control gates and suffer harm from exposure to toxic red tide; ingestion of fish hooks, litter, and monofilament line; and entanglement in crab trap lines.
Florida manatees average in length of about ten to twelve feet in length, and around 1'500 to1'800 pounds, they are very fat mammals. The new-born calf weighs anywhere from 60-70 pounds. The life expectancy of Florida Manatees can range anywhere from 50-60 years in the wild. There is no specific mating season for Florida Manatees.There Gestation is about 1 year. Male manatees which are also called bulls, are sexually mature around the ages of nine and ten, even though some of them have produced viable sperm around ages two and three.
Female manateeswhich are also called cows are sexually mature as young as three years of age. Female Florida Manatees may produce calves as early as ages four to five but having calves at such a young age may not be successful. Thenumber of offspring isone calf, one calf is born every 2-5 years, but every once and a while they might have twins but that is very rare.Calves are born weighing between 60 and 70 pounds and measuring about 3-4 feet they nurse underwater.The reproductive rate for FloridaManatees is extremely low.
Manatees are part of the Florida coastal ecosystem. If manatees are healthy it shows us that the ecosystem is probably healthy. If manatees are sick, it probably means that the ecosystem is sick. If there is any kind of virus or any kind ofdisease inFlorida's ecosystem, the manatees would be one of the first to be affected by it. The female Florida Manatees nipples are located right under the flipperor her armpit.Most Manatees time is spent eating, resting, and traveling.
A marine mammal is a mammal that spends some of its life in the water, and some of its life outside of the water. Marine mammals breathe air so that means that they do not have gills.
Florida Manatee's kingdom they belong to is called the Animalia kingdom. The Phylym of theFlorida Manatee is called the Chordata Phylym. The class of theFlorida Manatee is called the Mammalian class. The order of theFlorida Manatee is called the Sirenia order. The family of Florida Manatees is called the Trichechidae family. The genus of the Florida Manatee is called theTrichechus genus. The species of the Florida Manatee is called the manatus species. The subspecies of the Florida Manatee is called the latirostris subspecies.
A agency that follows Manatees is called Save The Manatee Club. What they do is give information about manatees on their website. They also are helping to make Manatees no longer an endangered species. On there website they give contact information so you can report to them if you see a Manatee injured, dead tagged, orphaned, or being harassed.
The manatee does not have very many natural predators to worry about. Of course the ones that are on that list are very powerful so they may not have much of a chance of surviving if one decides that they look quite tasty. Their natural predators include whales, sharks, crocodiles, and alligators. Manatees are herbivores, which means they only eat plants. A 10 foot manatee needs 100 pounds of underwater plants like hydrilla, sea grasses, and water hyacinths each day. It does not hunt prey. The newborn Manatees drink there mothers milk.