Trichechus manatus - Linnaeus, 1758
West Indian Manatee
Other English Common Names: West Indian manatee
Other Common Names: Peixe-Boi-Marinho, Manatí
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Trichechus manatus Linnaeus, 1758 (TSN 180684)
Spanish Common Names: Manatí
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103099
Element Code: AMAKA01010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Other Mammals
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Sirenia Trichechidae Trichechus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Help
Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Trichechus manatus
Taxonomic Comments: One of only four living species in the order Sirenia; the two other manatee species occur along the coast of West Africa (T. senegalensis) and in rivers of northeastern South America (T. inunguis). The other living sirenian, Dugong dugong, occurs in tropical bays and estuaries of the Indian and western Pacific oceans.

García-Rodríguez et al. (1998) examined range-wide phylogeography based on mtDNA variation in eight locations from Florida south to coastal Brazil. They detected three distinctive mtDNA lineages, corresponding approximately to: (1) Florida and the West Indies (Puerto Rico, Hispaniola); (2) Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean rivers of South America (Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela); and (3) northeast Atlantic coast of South America (Guyana, Brazil). These lineages, which exhibit strong but incomplete geographical partitioning, are not concordant with previously recognized subspecies designations.
Conservation Status
Help

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 28Jan2009
Global Status Last Changed: 30Apr1998
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Small range in coastal areas from the southeastern U.S. to northeastern South America; population size probably not much larger than a few thousand adults; high mortality rate, often a result of boat collisions (Florida, Puerto Rico) and hunting (elsewhere); threat from boat collisions is increasing despite improved regulations; low reproductive rate; population stable or possibly increasing in Florida and Puerto Rico, but a good estimate of the population in Florida is now several years old, status and trend poorly known elsewhere.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2 (30Apr1998)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (S1), Florida (S2), Georgia (S1S2), Louisiana (S1N), Mississippi (SNA), North Carolina (S1M), South Carolina (S1S2)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE, PT: Listed endangered, proposed threatened (02Jun1970)
Comments on USESA: FWS (2016) proposes to reclassify the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast
IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix I

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range encompasses rivers, estuaries, and coastal areas of subtropical and tropical areas of northern South America, West Indies/Caribbean region (but apparently never very abundant in the Greater Antilles, except perhaps Cuba, Lefebvre 1989), Gulf of Mexico (now mainly western and southwestern portions), and southeastern North America (mainly Florida).

Present range limits are similar to those known historically, but the distribution is fragmented due to areas of local extirpation (O'Shea and Ludlow 1992). Area of occupancy and abundance are apparently greatly reduced in Central and South America compared to the historical situation. Small numbers exist in the Greater Antilles but the species has not been documented in the Lesser Antilles south of the Virgin Islands since the 1700s. Sightings are rare in the Bahamas. Manatees remain relatively abundant in Belize (compared to elsewhere in Central America) and in Guyana, and they are still reasonably abundant in some areas of Mexico and on both coasts of Florida (Lefebvre et al. 1989). In Puerto Rico, manatees are most often observed in coastal areas from San Juan eastward to the east coast, (and including Vieques Island) and then south and west, past Jobos Bay, to the west coast, and about as far to the northwest as Rincon; they are concentrated in several areas, including Ceiba, Vieques Island, Jobos Bay, and Boquerón Bay, and are less abundant along the north coast, between Rincón and Dorado (USFWS 2007). Manatees are very rare (transient) in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USFWS 2007). See Fairbairn and Haynes (1982) and Hurst (1986) for information on status and distribution in Jamaica. See Lefebvre et al. (1989) for a fairly detailed overview of country by country status.

U.S. populations occur primarily in Florida (e.g., see Van Meter 1987), where they are effectively isolated from other populations by the cooler waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico and the deeper waters of the Straits of Florida (Domning and Hayek 1986). In the southeastern United States, manatees are more or less retricted to the vicinity of warm-water sites in peninsular Florida during the winter, although a few may remain year-round in Cumberland Sound, southeastern Georgia, where factory warm-water outfalls allow survival of colder winter months (Reeves et al. 1992). Occasional manatees occur in summer from Texas to North Carolina (e.g., see Schwartz 1995, Brimleyana 22:53-60, for North Carolina records). Those in Texas may be wanderers from Mexican population, but DNA analysis of an individual captured linked it to the Florida population (T. Ettel, pers. comm.). Manatees range along most of the Gulf coast of Florida but infrequently occur north of the Suwannee River and between the Chassahowitzka River and Tampa Bay. They inhabit the Atlantic coast of Florida from the Georgia coast to Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys, including the St. Johns River, the Indian River lagoon system, and various other waterways (O'Shea and Ludlow 1992). In Florida, the most well-used wintering areas are at Crystal River, Homosassa River, Tampa Bay, Ft. Myers, Port Everglades, Riviera Beach, near Titusville, and Blue Spring (O'Shea and Ludlow 1992).

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: The precise number of distinct occurrences (subpopulations) is unknown. MtDNA data suggest the existence of three main lineages, which could be regarded as occurrences from the broad perspective but may be too large for most practical conservation purposes.

In Florida, where manatee distribution is well known, manatees exist as four major units that in the past have been referred to as subpopulations but today are recognized as management units rather than as discrete subpopulations, due to the high level of gene flow among the four units (USFWS 2007).

USFWS (2001) identified 26 winter aggregation sites in Florida, not counting many lesser known minor aggregation sites used as temporary thermal refuges. These do not necessarily represent distinct occurrences from the perspective of population biology, but they do help identify some of the important focal areas for manatee conservation in the northern portion of the range.

Population Size: 2500 - 10,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but is at least a few thousand and probably is less than 10,000.

The best, current, minimum population estimate of the statewide Florida manatee population is approximately 3,300 animals, based on a single statewide count at warm-water refuges and adjacent areas in January 2001 (USFWS 2007); although surveys have been conducted more recently than 2001, the weather conditions for that particular survey were ideal and, as a result, the count from that year still provides the best minimum population estimate (USFWS 2007). However, the 2001 count is now several years old, and given ongoing mortality (see threats) the current manatee population in Florida may no longer be 3,300.

A January 2005 helicopter survey of the entire Puerto Rico coast yielded a count of 121 manatees, including 20 calves (Mignucci-Giannoni 2005). Mignucci-Giannoni (2005) speculated that the relative abundance of manatees in Puerto Rico may be between 150 and 360 individuals.

Numbers are undocumented elsewhere.

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: OVERVIEW: Threats include habitat loss and degradation, and mortality from boat collisions, hunting, fishing, red tide poisoning, entrapment in water control structures, entanglement in fishing gear, and exposure to cold temperatures. Manatees are vulnerable to catastrophic mortality when gathered in large numbers at winter aggregation sites in Florida. In Florida, primary human-related threats include mortality and injury from collisions with watercraft, entrapment and/or crushing in water control structures, and entanglement in fishing gear (USFWS 2007). Natural threats include exposure to cold (loss of warm-water winter refuges) and red tide (brevitoxicosis) (USFWS 2007). The most significant threats to Florida manatees are collisions with boats and potential loss of warm water habitat throughout the state (USFWS 2007). In Belize, watercraft-related mortality was reported as the major threat, followed by illegal hunting and entanglement in fishing gear, whereas in northeastern Brazil the stranding of live-orphaned calves was identified as the main recent threat (Parente et al. 2004, cited by Deutsch et al. 2008).

FURTHER INFORMATION:

In many areas this species is threatened by high mortality often associated with human activity (especially collisions with boats in Florida), in conjunction with low reproductive rate and habitat loss. In Florida, mortality from boat collisions is increasing (69-95 deaths per year during 2000-2007; data from Florida Wildlife Research Institute). Mortality from collisions with boats is believed to be the primary threat to the small manatee population in Puerto Rico (USFWS 2007).

A significant threat to manatee habitat is the potential loss of natural and man-made warm-water refugia (USFWS 2007). Natural springs are vulnerable to reductions in water quality and flow(resulting in part from human consumption of groundwater) and are threatened by factors that affect manatee access and use of the springs, whereas power plants are not permanent reliable sources of warm water, and many power plants upon which manatees now depend are expected to terminate operations within the next couple of decades (USFWS 2007).

In Florida, habitat loss caused by residential and commercial development of coastal land remains a problem.

In Florida in 1996, about 160 died apparently as a result of the toxic effects of the "red tide" alga Gymnodinium breve (Turner 1996).

Fisheries result in low numbers of deaths and nonlethal injuries in Florida but may be significant elsewhere in the range.

Hunting is responsible for the decline throughout much of the range. Illegal hunting is still a problem in much of the range in Mexico, the West Indies, and Central and South America. Opportunistic taking by fishermen is a major source of mortality in the Greater Antilles.

Manatees have low tolerance of human disturbance in calving areas, but are moderately tolerant of swimmers in wintering sites. There are no data at this time to indicate that harassment is limiting the recovery of the Florida manatee (USFWS 2007).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Short-term Trend Comments: Current information suggests that the Florida manatee population (subspecies latirostris) is growing (USFWS 2007), but the latest good population estimate is from 2001. The Antillean manatee population (subspecies manatus) in Puerto Rico, while not as well studied as the Florida manatee, is also thought to have increased over the past 40 years and is now stable or slowly increasing (USFWS 2007). Little is known about trends in areas outside U.S. jurisdiction (USFWS 2007).

Based on status and trend information primarily from Florida and secondarily from Puerto Rico, USFWS (2007) concluded that the West Indian manatee no longer meets the definition of an endangered species. However, because of the threats of potential habitat loss and watercraft collisions and the concerns regarding the adequacy of regulatory mechanisms associated with those threats, USFWS (2007) stated that the West Indian manatee should be classified as threatened.

Long-term Trend: Decline of >50%
Long-term Trend Comments: Over the long term, extent of occurrence has not changed much, but population size and habitat quality presumably have declined to a large but undetermined degree.

In Florida, the overall range has not changed over the long term, but the winter range has shifted from one based solely on natural warm waters to one based primarily on warm-water outlets of power plants (almost two-thirds of population) (USFWS 2007).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Highly vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Reproductive rate is very low; a healthy adult female produces just one calf every three years.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Better information is needed on non-U.S. population sizes, distribution, and threats.

Protection Needs: Efforts should be made to reduce poaching in areas outside the United States. In Florida, reduction is needed in the level of mortality resulting from boat collisions.

In Florida, warm-water winter refuges are in great need of protection. USFWS and the state of Florida are working together and coordinating with other agencies and industry to address possible warm water loss from a variety of angles, including seeking alternative sources of warm water in the short term, and restoring major springs to provide access to natural sources of warm water for the long term (USFWS 2007). Failure to protect existing sources of warm water in winter or to provide secure surrogate habitats for the long-term could lead to a future decline in the Florida manatee population, reduced long-term carrying capacity, and an elevated risk of extirpation on either coast of Florida (USFWS 2007).

Distribution
Help
Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Range encompasses rivers, estuaries, and coastal areas of subtropical and tropical areas of northern South America, West Indies/Caribbean region (but apparently never very abundant in the Greater Antilles, except perhaps Cuba, Lefebvre 1989), Gulf of Mexico (now mainly western and southwestern portions), and southeastern North America (mainly Florida).

Present range limits are similar to those known historically, but the distribution is fragmented due to areas of local extirpation (O'Shea and Ludlow 1992). Area of occupancy and abundance are apparently greatly reduced in Central and South America compared to the historical situation. Small numbers exist in the Greater Antilles but the species has not been documented in the Lesser Antilles south of the Virgin Islands since the 1700s. Sightings are rare in the Bahamas. Manatees remain relatively abundant in Belize (compared to elsewhere in Central America) and in Guyana, and they are still reasonably abundant in some areas of Mexico and on both coasts of Florida (Lefebvre et al. 1989). In Puerto Rico, manatees are most often observed in coastal areas from San Juan eastward to the east coast, (and including Vieques Island) and then south and west, past Jobos Bay, to the west coast, and about as far to the northwest as Rincon; they are concentrated in several areas, including Ceiba, Vieques Island, Jobos Bay, and Boquerón Bay, and are less abundant along the north coast, between Rincón and Dorado (USFWS 2007). Manatees are very rare (transient) in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USFWS 2007). See Fairbairn and Haynes (1982) and Hurst (1986) for information on status and distribution in Jamaica. See Lefebvre et al. (1989) for a fairly detailed overview of country by country status.

U.S. populations occur primarily in Florida (e.g., see Van Meter 1987), where they are effectively isolated from other populations by the cooler waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico and the deeper waters of the Straits of Florida (Domning and Hayek 1986). In the southeastern United States, manatees are more or less retricted to the vicinity of warm-water sites in peninsular Florida during the winter, although a few may remain year-round in Cumberland Sound, southeastern Georgia, where factory warm-water outfalls allow survival of colder winter months (Reeves et al. 1992). Occasional manatees occur in summer from Texas to North Carolina (e.g., see Schwartz 1995, Brimleyana 22:53-60, for North Carolina records). Those in Texas may be wanderers from Mexican population, but DNA analysis of an individual captured linked it to the Florida population (T. Ettel, pers. comm.). Manatees range along most of the Gulf coast of Florida but infrequently occur north of the Suwannee River and between the Chassahowitzka River and Tampa Bay. They inhabit the Atlantic coast of Florida from the Georgia coast to Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys, including the St. Johns River, the Indian River lagoon system, and various other waterways (O'Shea and Ludlow 1992). In Florida, the most well-used wintering areas are at Crystal River, Homosassa River, Tampa Bay, Ft. Myers, Port Everglades, Riviera Beach, near Titusville, and Blue Spring (O'Shea and Ludlow 1992).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Clay (12019), Lee (12071), Martin (12085), Nassau (12089), Palm Beach (12099)
LA Ascension (22005), Cameron (22023)*, East Baton Rouge (22033), Livingston (22063), Orleans (22071)*, St. Bernard (22087), St. Charles (22089)*, St. James (22093), St. John the Baptist (22095), St. Mary (22101), St. Tammany (22103), Tangipahoa (22105), Terrebonne (22109)
MS Harrison (28047), Jackson (28059)
NC Beaufort (37013), Brunswick (37019), Carteret (37031), Craven (37049), Currituck (37053), Dare (37055), Hyde (37095), Jones (37103), Lenoir (37107), New Hanover (37129), Onslow (37133), Pamlico (37137), Pender (37141), Pitt (37147)
SC Beaufort (45013)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Albemarle (03010205)+, Lower Tar (03020103)+, Pamlico (03020104)+, Pamlico Sound (03020105)+, Middle Neuse (03020202)+, Contentnea (03020203)+, Lower Neuse (03020204)+, White Oak River (03020301)+, New River (03020302)+, Lower Cape Fear (03030005)+, Northeast Cape Fear (03030007)+, Coastal Carolina (03040208)+, Calibogue Sound-Wright River (03060110)+, Nassau (03070205)+, Lower St. Johns (03080103)+, Daytona - St. Augustine (03080201)+, Big Cypress Swamp (03090204)+, Caloosahatchee (03090205)+, Florida Southeast Coast (03090206)+, Charlotte Harbor (03100103)+, Sarasota Bay (03100201)+, Tampa Bay (03100206)+, Choctawhatchee Bay (03140102)+, Pascagoula (03170006)+, Mississippi Coastal (03170009)+, Lower Pearl. Mississippi (03180004)+*
08 Amite (08070202)+, Lake Maurepas (08070204)+, Atchafalaya (08080101)+, Mermentau (08080202)+*, Lower Calcasieu (08080206)+*, Lower Mississippi-New Orleans (08090100)+*, Liberty Bayou-Tchefuncta (08090201)+, Lake Pontchartrain (08090202)+, Eastern Louisiana Coastal (08090203)+, West Central Louisiana Coastal (08090302)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Help
Basic Description: A large aquatic mammal (manatee).
General Description: This is a slow-moving mammal with a rounded body, gray to brown skin with fine sparse hair, small head, squarish snout with a deeply split upper lip, valvular nostrils, small eyes, flexible flippers, and a large rounded horizontally flattened tail. Adults usually are about 10-13 feet (300-400 cm) in total length. Newborn calves are about 3-4 feet (1 meter) long (Nowak 1991).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Trichechus manatus differs from T. inunguis of the Amazon Basin in larger size (maximum total length of inunguis is about 280 cm), less slender proportions, wrinkled skin rather than smooth skin, less elongate flippers, and presence of nails on the flippers (nails usually are lacking in inunguis) (Nowak 1991).
Reproduction Comments: This species exhibits a promiscuous mating system. Gestation lasts about 12-14 months. One young (rarely 2) is born in spring/early summer (usually). Young are weaned in 1-2 years. The interval between successive births for an individual female is 3-5 years (though 2 years if the calf is lost early). Females are sexually mature at a minimum age of 4-5 years, though newly mature individuals often do not successfully rear young; most females breed successfully by 7-9 years. Males may be 9-10 years old before they breed, though they may attain physical maturity a few years earlier. Maximum longevity is several decades. See O'Shea and Ludlow (1992) for further details.
Ecology Comments: In the north, manatees congregate in winter (largest groups may exceed 300); otherwise they are not highly social (except close mother/calf bond and temporary aggregations of several males around an estrous female).

Die-offs associated with red tides and with unusually cold weather have occurred in Florida (Van Meter 1987).

Maximum potential rate of population increase has been estimated at 2-7% per year and is most sensitive to changes in adult survival (secondarily, subadult survival) (see O'Shea and Ludlow 1992).

Habitat Type: Marine
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: n North America north of Florida, this species is mainly a migrant or irregular visitor. In Florida, manatees may migrate southward for winter; seasonal migrations of at least 530 miles (850 kilometers) to wintering areas have been documented, and migrations of 125-190 miles (200-300 kilometers) are usual along the Atlantic coast (O'Shea and Ludlow 1992).

Home range varies widely throughout the year. In summer, males may move over areas extending up to a couple hundred kilometers and tend to travel more widely than do females.

Marine Habitat(s): Near shore
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, MEDIUM RIVER, SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Habitat includes shallow coastal waters, estuaries, bays, rivers, and lakes; throughout most of the range, manatees appear to prefer rivers and estuaries over marine habitats (Lefebvre et al. 1989). Manatees are not averse to traveling through dredged canals or using quiet marinas. They apparently are not able to tolerate prolonged exposure to water colder than 20 C. In the north during October-April, manatees congregate in warmer water bodies (spring-fed rivers, outfalls from power plants). They prefer waters at least 1-2 meters in depth; along the coast manatees often are in water 3-5 meters deep, usually in areas lacking strong current. Except in the Greater Antilles, manatees are consistently associated with freshwater sources (Lefebvre et al. 1989). In Brevard County, Florida, the cul-de-sac shelter type was the most ecologically valuable of all shelter types (Burke 1994).

In Florida, manatees occur in freshwater, brackish, and marine environments; typical coastal and inland habitats include coastal tidal rivers and streams, mangrove swamps, salt marshes, freshwater springs, and vegetated bottoms; where feeding often occurs in shallow grass beds, with ready access to deep channels (Smith 1993). In coastal Georgia and northeastern Florida, manatees feed on smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) in salt marshes at high tide (Baugh et al. 1989, Zoodsma 1991). Manatees drink from springs and freshwater runoff sites, mating, calving, and care of young often occur in secluded canals, creeks, embayments, and lagoons (Marine Mammal Commission 1986, 1988; O'Shea and Ludlow 1992; Gannon et al. 2007).

In Puerto Rico, manatees are primarily marine but appear to depend on access to fresh water, and seagrass beds provide the primary foraging habitat (USFWS 2007).

Adult Food Habits: Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: The manatee's diet is mainly submergent, emergent, and floating vegetation, but the diet varies with plant availability and opportunistically may include other foods (e.g., acorns in early winter in Florida, fishes caught in gill nets in Jamaica). In Florida, the diet is not restricted to native plant species (O'Shea and Ludlow 1992).
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Manatees may be intermittently active day or night. In Honduras, where hunted, they were mainly nocturnal (Reeves et al. 1992).
Length: 350 centimeters
Weight: 400000 grams
Economic Attributes
Help
Economic Comments: This species has been hunted for meat, bone, hides, and fat (subsistence harvest mainly, some commercial harvest formerly in South America). Some subsistence hunting still occurs in parts of Central and South America. Some people believe that certain parts of the body have medicinal value.

Manatee populations may not eat enough to be an effective control on undesirable aquatic plants (Van Meter 1987), though Reeves et al. (1992) gave two examples of apparently successful weed control by manatees in South America.

Management Summary
Help
Stewardship Overview: For the Florida manateee, USFWS (2001) summarized recovery efforts as follows: "The near and long term threats from human-related activities are the reasons for which the Florida manatee currently necessitates protection under the Endangered Species Act. The focus of recovery is not on how many manatees exist, but instead the focus is on implementing, monitoring and addressing the effectiveness of conservation measures to reduce or remove threats which will lead to a healthy and self-sustaining population."

Actions needed in Florida include the following: minimize causes of manatee disturbance, harassment, injury, and mortality; determine and monitor the status of the manatee population; protect, identify, evaluate, and monitor manatee habitats; facilitate manatee recovery through public awareness and education (USFWS 2001).

Management Requirements: .
Biological Research Needs: See USFWS (2007).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Upland areas.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 50 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 50 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: Major (A-ranked) occurrences can be separated along major watershed divides, including coastal areas adjacent to each watershed.
Separation Justification: Manatees capable of long-distance movements, but in Florida generally stay within a home range with a diameter of about 25-30 kilometers.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 15 km
Date: 14Mar2002
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 06Apr2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G., D. L. Hipes, D. R. Jackson, and J. G. Palis
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 02Feb2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Aipanjiguly, S., S. K. Jacobson, and R. Flamm. 2003. Conserving manatees: knowledge, attitudes, and intentions of boaters in Tampa Bay, Florida. Conservation Biology 17:1098-1105.

  • Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. 2005. Conserving Alabama's wildlife: a comprehensive strategy. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Montgomery, Alabama. 303 pages. [Available online at http://www.dcnr.state.al.us/research-mgmt/cwcs/outline.cfm ]

  • Baugh, T. M., J. A. Valade, and B. J. Zoodsma. 1989. Manatee use of Spartina alterniflora in
    Cumberland Sound. Marine Mammal Science 5:88-90.

  • Burke, P. M. 1994. A critical habitat analysis: ranking of shelter habitats utilized by the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) Linnaeus in Brevard County, FL. M.S. thesis, Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida. ix + 69 pp.

  • Davis, W. B. 1978. The mammals of Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept., Bull. No. 41. 294 pp.

  • Deutsch, C. J., C. Self-Sullivan, and A. Mignucci-Giannoni. 2008. Trichechus manatus. In: IUCN 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. . Downloaded on 27 January 2009.

  • Domning, D. P. 2005. Fossil Sirenia of the West Atlantic and Caribbean region. VII. Pleistocene Trichechus manatus Linnaeus, 1758. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 25:685-701.

  • Domning, D. P., and L. C. Hayek. 1986. Interspecific and intraspecific variation in manatees (Sirenia: Trichechus). Marine Mammal Sci. 2:87-144.

  • Engstrom, M. and B. Lim. 2000. Checklist of the mammals of Guyana. Smithsonian Institute. Http://www.mnh.si.edu/biodiversity/bdg/guymammals.html

  • Fairbairn, P., and A. Haynes. 1982. Jamaican surveys of the West Indian manatee Trichechus manatus, dolphin Tursiops truncatus, sea turtles (families Cheloniidae and Dermochelydae) and booby terns (family Laridae). FAO Fish. Rep. 278:289-295.

  • Falcón-Matos, L., A. A. Mignucci-Giannoni, and G. M. Toyos. 2003. Evidence of a shark attack on a West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) in Puerto Rico. Mastozoología Neotropical 10:161-166.

  • Gannon, J. G., K. M. Scolardi, J. E. Reynolds, III, J. K. Koelsch, and T. J. Kessenich. 2007. Habitat selection by manatees in Sarasota Bay, Florida. Marine Mammal Science 23:133-143.

  • García-Rodríguez, A. I., B. W. Bowen, D. P. Domning, A. A. Mignucci-Giannoni, M. Marmontel, R. A. Montoya-Ospina, B. Morales-Vela, M. Rudin, R. K. Bonde, and P.M. McGuire. 1998. Phylogeography of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus): how many populations and how many taxa? Molecular Ecology 7:1137-1149.

  • Hartman, D. S. 1979. Ecology and behavior of the manatee (Trichechus manatus) in Florida. American Society Mamm. Special Publication (5):1-153 pp.

  • Honacki, J. H., K. E. Kinman, and J. W. Koepf (eds.). 1982. Mammal species of the world. Allen Press, Inc. and Assoc. Syst. Coll., Lawrence, Kansas. 694 pp.

  • Hurst, L. 1986. The status and distribution of the West Indian manatee Trichechus manatus in Jamaica, with an evaluation of the vegetation of Alligator Hole River. M.S. thesis, Univ. Florida, Gainesville.

  • Husar, S. L. 1977. The West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Res. Rep. 7:1-22.

  • Husar, S. L. 1978. Trichechus manatus. Mammalian Species No. 93:1-8

  • Jones, J. K., Jr., R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, C. Jones, R. J. Baker, and M. D. Engstrom. 1992a. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1991. Occasional Papers, The Museum, Texas Tech University, 146:1-23.

  • Layne, J. N., editor. 1978. Rare and endangered biota of Florida. Vol. 1. Mammals. State of Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission. xx + 52 pp.

  • Lefebvre, L. W., and H. I. Kochman. 1991. An evaluation of aerial survey replicate count methodology to determine trends in manatee abundance. Wildlife Society Bull. 19:298-309.

  • Lefebvre, L. W., et al. 1989. Distribution, status, and biogeography of the West Indian manatee. Pages 567-610 in C. A. Woods (editor). Biogeography of the West Indies. Sandhill Crane Press, Gainesville, Florida.

  • Lowery, G. H., Jr. 1974. The mammals of Louisiana and its adjacent waters. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge. 565 pp.

  • Mammalian Species, nos. 1-604. Published by the American Society of Mammalogists.

  • Marine Mammal Commission. 1986. Habitat protection needs for the subpopulation of West Indian manatees in the Crystal River area of northwest Florida. Document No. PB86-200250, National Technical Information Service. Silver Spring, Maryland. 46 pp.

  • Marine Mammal Commission. 1988. Preliminary assessment of habitat protection needs for West Indian manatees on the east coast of Florida and Georgia. Document No. PB89-162002, National Technical Information Service. Silver Spring, Maryland. 120 pp.

  • Matthews, J.R. and C.J. Moseley (eds.). 1990. The Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species of North America. Volume 1. Plants, Mammals. xxiii + pp 1-560 + 33 pp. appendix + 6 pp. glossary + 16 pp. index. Volume 2. Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fishes, Mussels, Crustaceans, Snails, Insects, and Arachnids. xiii + pp. 561-1180. Beacham Publications, Inc., Washington, D.C.

  • McClenaghan, L. R., Jr., and T. J. O'Shea. 1988. Genetic variability in the Florida manatee. J. Mammalogy 69:481-488.

  • Mignucci-Giannoni, A.A. 2005. Estatus del manati de las Indias Occidentals (Trichechus manatus) en Puerto Rico. A report by Antonio Mignucci, Investigacion Ambiental. Prepared on February 21, 2005. 13 pp.

  • Mirarchi, R. E., M. A. Bailey, T. M. Haggerty, and T. L. Best, editors. 2004. Alabama wildlife. Volume 3. Imperiled amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 225 pages.

  • Mirarchi, R.E., editor. 2004. Alabama Wildlife. Volume 1. A checklist of vertebrates and selected invertebrates: aquatic mollusks, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 209 pages.

  • Nowak, R. M. 1991. Walker's mammals of the world. Fifth edition. Vols. I and II. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Baltimore. 1629 pp.

  • O'Shea, T. J., B. B. Ackerman, and H. F. Percival, editors. 1995. Population biology of the Florida manatee. USDI National Biological Service, Information and Technology Report 1:1-289.

  • O'Shea, T. J., and M. E. Ludlow. 1992. Florida manatee Trichechus manatus latirostris. Pages 190-200 in S. R. Humphrey (editor). Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. Volume I. Mammals. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. xviii + 392 pp.

  • O'Shea, T. J., et al. 1985. An analysis of manatee mortality patterns in Florida, 1976-1981. J. Wildlife Management 49:1-11.

  • Odell, D. K. 1982. West Indian Manatee. Pages 828-837 in Chapman, J. A., and G. A. Feldhamer, eds. Wild mammals of North America. Biology, management, and economics. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Baltimore.

  • Odell, D. K., and J. E. Reynolds. 1979. Observations on manatee mortality in South Florida. J. Wildlife Management 43:572-577.

  • Reeves, R. R., B. S. Stewart, and S. Leatherwood. 1992. The Sierra Club Handbook of Seals and Sirenians. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, California. xvi + 359 pp.

  • Reeves, R. R., and E. Mitchell. 1992. Status report on the Baird's beaked whale Berardius bairdii in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 35 pp.

  • Reid, F. A. 1997. A field guide to the mammals of Central America and southeast Mexico. Oxford University Press, Incorporated New York, New York. 334 pp.

  • Rice, D. W. 1998. Marine mammals of the world: systematics and distribution. Society for Marine Mammalogy, Special Publication Number 4. ix + 231 pp.

  • See SERO listing

  • Smith, K. N. 1993. Manatee habitat and human-related threats to seagrass in Florida: a review. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Protected Species Management. Report. Tallahassee, Florida. 38 pp.

  • Turner, R. 1996. Die-off decimates Florida manatee. Endangered Species Bulletin 21(3):27.

  • Turner, R., and C. Buckingham. 1993. Navy is enlisted in plan to protect manatees. Endangered Species Tech. Bull. 18(2):1, 10-11.

  • U.S. Dept. of Interior, National Biological Service. 1995. Population Biology of the Florida Manatee. Information and Technical report 1.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. American woodcock management plan. USFWS, Office of Migratory Bird Management. 11 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2001. Florida manatee recovery plan (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Third revision. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Atlanta, Georgia. 144 pp. + appendices.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2007. West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). 5-year review: summary and evaluation. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, Jacksonville, Florida, and Boquerón, Puerto Rico. v + 79 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2014. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To Reclassify the West Indian Manatee From Endangered to Threatened. Federal Register 79(127):37706-37710.

  • Van Meter, V. B. 1987. The West Indian manatee in Florida. Florida Power & Light Company, Miami. 41 pp.

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland. Two volumes. 2,142 pp. [Available online at: http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/ ]

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.

  • Zoodsma, B. J. 1991. Distribution and behavioral ecology of manatees in southeastern Georgia. M.S thesis. University of Florida, Gainesville. 202 pp.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of November 2016.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2017 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.