Tuesday, May 3, 2011

USA - Florida - Manatee/Sea Cow

The Manatee or Sea Cow, was once abundant in Florida Coastal waters, but now are an endangered species. As vegetarians they help control the growth of water plants which clog Florida's Waterways.

Sent by Paul, a postcrosser from Orlando, USA.

This is from Wikipedia : Manatees (family Trichechidae, genus Trichechus) are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows. There are three accepted living species of Trichechidae, representing three of the four living species in the order Sirenia: the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis), the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), and the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis). They measure up to 13 feet/4 meters long, weigh as much as 1300 pounds/600 kilograms, and have paddle-like flippers. The name manatí comes from the Taíno, a pre-Columbian people of the Caribbean, meaning "breast".

Manatees comprise three of the four living species in the order Sirenia. The 4th is the Eastern Hemisphere's dugong. The Sirenia are thought to have evolved from four-legged land mammals over 60 million years ago, with the closest living relatives being the Proboscidea (elephants) and Hyracoidea (hyraxes).

The Amazonian's hair color and is brownish gray and they have thick, wrinkled skin, often with coarse hair, or "whiskers." Photos are rare; although very little is known about this species, scientists think they are similar to West Indian Manatees. The name in Songhay, the local language, is "ayyu".

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