The Amazonian Manatee (Trichechus inunguis) is a species of manatee that lives in the freshwater habitats of the Amazon basin. They are found in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and Venezuela. Amazonian manatees are aquatic animals of the Sirenia order and are also known as "seacows". Their color is gray but sometimes appears to be a brownish gray. They have thick, wrinkled skin, are almost hairless but have "whiskers" round their mouths. It lacks significant predation, other than being occasionally hunted by humans. The manatees, and the closely related Dugong, are unusual in being the only plant-eating marine mammals of modern times.
A somewhat 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. Their closest cousins, the elephants also have teeth that get replaced, but have only a limited set of these replacement teeth.
Amazonian manatees are the smallest species of manatee besides the dwarf manatee. They may reach a length of 9.2 ft. Females are typically larger than males and can weigh 800 to 1200 lbs. They also lack the nails found 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 Dr Marc van Roosmalen. Called the peixe-boi anão in Brazilian Portuguese, it is about 130 cm (4.2 ft) long and lives in fast-flowing streams. Its validity has later been questioned, with some believing it is an immature Amazonian Manatee.
- ^ Shoshani, Jeheskel (November 16, 2005). Wilson, D. E., and Reeder, D. M. (eds). ed. Mammal Species of the World (3rd edition ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 93. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3.
- ^ Marmontel, M. (2008). Trichechus inunguis. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 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.
- Multiple new species of large, living mammals (part III) - Tetrapod zoology. Accessed March 16, 2008.