West Indian manatee

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The West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) or "sea cow" is a manatee. It is the largest living member of the order Sirenia (which also includes dugongs and the extinct Steller's sea cow).

The West Indian manatee is a different species from the Amazonian manatee (T. inunguis) and the African manatee (T. senegalensis). The West Indian manatee is in two subspecies, the Florida manatee (T. m. latirostris) and the Antillean or Caribbean manatee (T. m. manatus).[1][2] New research shows that there may be three groups:

  1. Florida and the Greater Antilles
  2. Mexico, Central America and northern South America
  3. Northeastern South America.[3][4]

The Florida manatee and the Antillean manatee are endangered. Federal, state, private, and nonprofit organizations are working to protect these species from natural and human threats, such as collisions with boat propeller blades.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. Domning, Daryl P. & Hayek, Lee-Ann C. 1986. "Interspecific and intraspecific morphological variation in manatees (Sirenia: Trichechus)". Marine Mammal Science 2 (2): 87–144. doi:10.1111/j.1748-7692.1986.tb00034.x. 
  2. Hatt, Robert T. 1934. "The American Museum Congo Expedition manatee and other recent manatees". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 66: 533–566. 
  3. A. I. Garcia-Rodriguez A.I. et al 1998. "Phylogeography of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus): how many populations and how many taxa?". Molecular Ecology 7 (9): 1137–1149. doi:10.1046/j.1365-294x.1998.00430.x. PMID 9734072. 
  4. Vianna J.A. et al 2006. "Phylogeography, phylogeny and hybridization in trichechid sirenians: implications for manatee conservation". Molecular Ecology 15 (2): 433–47. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02771.x. PMID 16448411. 
  5. Deutsch C.J; Self-Sullivan C. & & Mignucci-Giannon A. 2008. Trichecus manatus. In 2010 IUCN red list of threatened species (Version 2010.4) Retrieved 6 December 2011 from www.iucnredlist.org