Amazonian manatee

Trichechus inunguis

The Amazonian manatee 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. Though, it is estimated if current harvest levels are mainainted in Ecuador, it will be gone within 10-15 years. 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 also has a distinct white breast patch, with fine hairs scattered over its body. It lacks significant predation, other than being occasionally hunted by humans, usually with harpoons. The manatees themselves feed on a variety of aquatic macrophytes, including aroids, grasses, bladderwarts, hornworts, water lilies, and particularly, water hyacinths.

An almost unique feature 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 . Females are typically larger than males, and can weigh 360 to 540 kg . Unlike the ), it lacks nails on the end of most flippers.

Recently, a closely related, but far smaller species, the dwarf manatee , has been described from Brazil by Marc van Roosmalen. Called the ''peixe-boi anão'' in Brazilian Portuguese, it is about 130 cm long and lives in fast-flowing streams. Its validity has later been questioned, with some believing it to be an immature Amazonian manatee.
Amazonian Manatee (Trichechus inunguis) from Amazonian Peru. The Amazonian Manatee, Trichechus inunguis, can grow to lengths of 2.8 meters and weigh as much as 500kg.  They inhabit the Amazon, its tributaries, and there is an isolated population on the Essiquibo River in Guyana.  Trapped in large fishing nets and wounded by boat impacts (propeller damage), these gentile giants are often damaged or killed in such incidents.  A rescue center exists in Iquitos, Peru where wounded animals are rehabilitated and then released.   Amazonian Manatee,Amazonian fauna,Amazonian manatee,Peru,Peruvian Amazon,Sirenia,Trichechidae,Trichechus inunguis,aquatic mammals,conservation,rahbilitation facility

Status

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.Marmontel, M. 2008. Trichechus inunguis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. . However, due to their murky water habitat it is difficult to gain accurate population estimates.

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Status: Vulnerable | Trend: Down
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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderSirenia
FamilyTrichechidae
GenusTrichechus
SpeciesT. inunguis
Photographed in
Brazil
Peru