The Taxonomy of a Manatee

Created By: Destiny Wilkins
February 12,2015
Ms.Rowland - 1st

                                                What is Taxonomy?

Taxonomy is the science which identifies, describes, classifies and names living beings. There are 7 taxon levels and they are called Taxon, they comprise Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.

Using a 2-part naming system which is the genus and the species is how each organism is named.

Taxonomic Levels of Florida:

Kingdom: Animalia - Manatee are multicellular organisms and they are also eukaryotic. Nearly all other animals are maneuverable. These particular organisms must eat other organisms in order to survive, which makes them heterotrophic.

Phylum: Chordata- Organisms in this phylum which everyone is most intimately familiar with since it includes humans and other vertebrates they occur at some point in the life period.

Class: Mammalia - Mammalia is the scientific term for mammal, therefore all of the organisms in this class type are share a defined set of characteristics which are being warm blooded, lactating, give live birth, have fur/hair.

Order: Sirenia- This order accommodate slow and passive mammals of tropical and sub-tropical waters. Manatee live in shallow, calm rivers, estuaries, bays, canals, and coastal areas. Manatees can gallivant from fresh to salt water without any difficulty. The Florida manatee are primarily found most of its time in Florida but can travel as far north as Virginia.  

Family:Trichechidae- These organisms are fully aquatic mammals.

Genus: Trichechus which means "hairy" this genus accommodate three types of Manatee species known as "Sea Cows".

Species: Trichechus manatus- the largest surviving member of the aquatic mammal order Sirenia. These mammals have a paddle-shaped tail, with flippers with about three or four nails on each.

                                   Florida (West Indian) Manatee

Manatee Protection                                         

Click the link to watch the Manatee clip of the protection of their calf.

                                                      Life of a Manatee

Manatee are sometimes called "Sea Cows". These organisms are usually found in shallow coastal areas and rivers where they feed on the sea grass, mangrove leaves, and algae. These herbivores gnaw on food for about a half of a day, which means their eating ten percent of their body weight in plant mass each and everyday.

West Indian and West African manatees spend their lives on the peak between salty water and fresh water. They are able to persevere the appropriate balance in their bodies through an internal adjustment system that work with the kidney to make sure salt concentration never reaches a high level. "It is believed that West Indian manatees require some access to freshwater (PDF) in order to stay hydrated, but they are able to easily move between the two ecosystems".

Warm water is obligation for the West Indian and West African manatee species. With the very low metabolic rates and minimal fat protection from cold water, they stick to water that is 60 degrees or warmer. In 2010 at least 246 manatees died in Florida due to cold stress from the colder-than-normal winter.

When manatees are born, they are approximately 5 feet long and weigh 60-70 pounds. Full-grown manatees can be up to 13 feet long and weigh up to 3,500 pounds. Manatees can hold their breath for about 20 minutes, they regularly breathe every few minutes. Female manatees mature around 5 years of age and males 6 to 7 years of age.

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