The Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis) is a species of manatee of the order Sirenia. It is found living in the freshwater habitats of the Amazon Basin in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Venezuela.Its color is grey, but sometimes appears to be a brownish grey. It has thick, wrinkled skin, and is almost hairless, but has "whiskers" around its mouth. It lacks significant predation, other than being occasionally hunted by humans.
An almost unique feature (amongst mammals) of the manatee is the constant replacement of molar teeth; new teeth enter at the back of the jaw and replace old and worn teeth at the front. The order's closest relatives, the elephants, also have teeth that get replaced, but have only a limited set of these replacement teeth.
The Amazonian manatee is the second-smallest species of manatee after the recently discovered dwarf manatee. It may reach a length of 2.8 m (9.2 ft). Females are typically larger than males, and can weigh 360 to 540 kg (790 to 1,200 lb). Unlike the West Indian manatee, it lacks nails on the end of most flippers.
Recently, a closely related, but far smaller species, the dwarf manatee (Trichechus pygmaeus), has been described from Brazil by Marc van Roosmalen. Called the peixe-boi anão in Brazilian Portuguese, it is about 130 cm (4.3 ft) long and lives in fast-flowing streams. Its validity has later been questioned, with some believing it to be an immature Amazonian manatee.
Basic physiology[edit source | edit]
It is the only sirenian that exclusively lives in freshwater habitat Amazonian manatees rely on changes in the peripheral circulation for its primary mechanism for thermoregulation by using sphincters to deflect blood flow from areas of the body in close contact with ocean. They also rely on subcutaneous fat to reduce heat loss.
Current status[edit source | edit]
The IUCN red list ranks the Amazonian manatee as vulnerable. Current population declines are primarily a result of hunting, as well as calf mortality, climate change, and habitat loss. However, due to their murky water habitat it is difficult to gain accurate population estimates.
See also[edit source | edit]
References[edit source | edit]
- Shoshani, J. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Marmontel, M. (2008). Trichechus inunguis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
- conserve nature manatee site
- van Roosmalen, M. G. M. A new species of living manatee from the Amazon.. Accessed on March 16, 2008.
- Trials of a Primatologist. - smithsonianmag.com. Accessed March 16, 2008.
- Amaral R.S., V.M.F da Silvia, and F.C.W Rosas. 2010. Body weight/length relationship and mass estimation using morphometric measurements in Amazonian manatees Trichechus inunguis Mammalia: Sirenia. Marine Biodiversity Records. 3:e105-e109.
- Gallican G.J., R.C. Best, and J.W. Kanwisher. 1982. Temperature regulation in the amazonian manatee trichechus inunguis. Physiological zoology The university of chicago press 255-262.
- Marmontel, M. 2008. Trichechus inunguis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>.
- Multiple new species of large, living mammals (part III) - Tetrapod zoology. Accessed March 16, 2008.