Accession Number : ADA322705

Title :   Population Biology of the Florida Manatee.

Descriptive Note : Information and technology rept.,

Corporate Author : FLORIDA COOPERATIVE FISH AND WILDLIFE RESEARCH UNIT GAINESVILLE

Personal Author(s) : O'Shea, Thomas J. ; Ackerman, Bruce B. ; Percival, H. F.

PDF Url : ADA322705

Report Date : AUG 1995

Pagination or Media Count : 296

Abstract : The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is a unique element of the U.S. fauna. It is a distinct subspecies of the West Indian manatee (Domning and Hayek 1986) and one of the largest inshore mammals of the continent, reaching weights to 1,650 kg (Rathbun et al. 1990). Annual migratory circuits of some individuals through the intracoastal waterways of the Atlantic Coast are 1,700 km round trips at seasonal travel rates as high as 50 km/day (Reid and O'Shea 1989; Reid et al. 1991), resulting in one of the longest remaining intact mammalian migrations in the eastern United States. Manatees are the only living North American representatives of the small mammalian Order Sirenia and are therefore the only embodiment of the unique suite of biological features that define the distinctive adaptive syndrome at the ordinal level of the taxonomic hierarchy. Features of this adaptive syndrome can be directly related to the lifestyle of aquatic herbivory (O'Shea and Reep 1990). In manatees, these features include unique aspects of morphology (pachyostosis; horizontal, unilobular lungs and diaphragm; indeterminate numbers of molars undergoing continuous replacement; dexterous forelimbs and prehensile lips; and a hind-gut as long or longer than 30 m), physiology (in particular an unusually low metabolic rate and a high thermal conductance that lead to energetic stresses in winter, ameliorated by migrations and aggregations in warm-water refugia), and behavioral ecology (lack of a rigid social organization, seasonal migrations, absence of strong circadian rhythms).

Descriptors :   *MAMMALS, *TAXONOMY, *ECOLOGY, *AQUATIC ANIMALS, STRESSES, UNITED STATES, COASTAL REGIONS, BIOLOGY, CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS, INSHORE AREAS, SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS, METABOLISM, SEASONAL VARIATIONS, THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY, ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS, LUNG, MIGRATION, ANIMALS, PHYSIOLOGY, NORTH(DIRECTION), ATLANTIC OCEAN, LIFE(BIOLOGY), HIERARCHIES, ENERGETIC PROPERTIES, AQUATIC ORGANISMS, FLORIDA, EAST(DIRECTION).

Subject Categories : Biology
      Medicine and Medical Research
      Biological Oceanography

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE