Essay On Manatees

994 Words 4 Pages
The scientific order Sirenia, which is classified as marine mammals, has only two extant families. The first family contains the manatees (Trichechidae). In this family, there are three different species which are the West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus), African manatees (Trichechus senegalensis), and Amazonian manatees (Trichechus inunguis). The second family (Dugongidae), contains only one species which is the dugong (Dugong dugon). This paper will focus on manatees. On average, manatees are about 10 feet long and can weigh up to 3,500 pounds. Manatees feature a torpedo like body and a flattened spoon shaped tail. Like all Sirenians, manatees have two fore flippers and lack hind flippers. The manatee’s rostrum is deflected downward and they have …show more content…
Furthermore, it is important to understand Sirenian husbandry so they may be properly taken care of when they are the subjects of researches in areas such as comparative psychology and biological experiments. Knowing the effects a captive environment can have on Sirenians is also useful in rehabilitation processes. This paper will begin by discussing the diet of wild manatees in comparison to the diet of captive manatees. According to Best (1981), manatees can eat about 8% of their total body weight in plants daily. Wild manatees consume a diet of over 60 different types of aquatic vegetation such as grasses and algae. Examples of specific types of aquatic vegetation consumed by manatees include Turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum), Manatee grass (Syringodium filiforme), Shoalweed (Halodule wrightii), and Muskgrass (Chara) (Siegal-Willott, et al., 2010). Aquatic plants consumed by manatees are made up of about 20% more water than vegetation consumed by terrestrial mammals. Because of the high water content of the aquatic plants, manatees must consume a large amount of food to achieve its nutrient intake (Best,

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