The implications of turning behaviour performed by Amazonian manatees after release into the wild

Abstract

Sirenians have dichromatic colour vision and tactile hairs but have not developed underwater echolocation. Amazonian manatees (Trichechus inunguis) live in turbid water and it has been unclear how they understand their surroundings. In this study, we recorded the 3D movements of two captive-raised Amazonian manatees. The results revealed that the manatees always swam in a circular pattern. Both animals used slower, narrower turning motions as they approached the flooded forests, which is abundant in aquatic vegetation. Therefore, we suggest that these two manatees swam in a circular pattern to detect all directions of their surroundings especially using sensitive facial bristles.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Akamatsu T, Wang D, Wang K, Li S, Dong S (2010) Scanning sonar of rolling porpoises during prey capture dives. J Exp Biol 213:146–152

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bachteler D, Dehnhardt G (1999) Active touch performance in the Antillean manatee: evidence for a functional differentiation of facial tactile hairs. Zoology 102:61–69

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bauer GB, Colbert DE, Gaspard JC III, Littlefield B (2003) Underwater visual acuity of Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Int J Comp Psychol 16:130–142

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bengtson JL, Fitzgerald SM (1985) Potential role of vocalizations in West Indian manatees. J Mammal 66:816–819

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Cohen JL, Tucker GS, Odell DK (1982) The photoreceptors of the West Indian manatee. J Morphol 173:197–202

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Gerstein ER, Gerstein L, Forsythe SE, Blue JE (1999) The underwater audiogram of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus). J Acoust Soc Am 105:3575–3583

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Griebel U, Schmid A (1996) Color vision in the manatee (Trichechus manatus). Vision Res 36:2747–2757

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Hartman DS (1979) Ecology and behavior of the manatee (Trichechus manatus) in Florida. Am Soc Mammal Spec Publ 5

  9. Marshall CD, Clark LA, Reep RL (1998) The muscular hydrostat of the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris): a functional morphological model of perioral bristle use. Mar Mammal Sci 14:290–303

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Marshall CD, Maeda H, Iwata M, Furuta M, Asano S, Rosas F, Reep RL (2003) Orofacial morphology and feeding behaviour of the dugong, Amazonian, West African and Antillean manatees (Mammalia: Sirenia): functional morphology of the muscular–vibrissal complex. J Zool 259:245–260

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Montgomery GG, Best RC, Yamakoshi M (1981) A radio-tracking study of the Amazonian manatee Trichechus inunguis (Mammalia, Sirenia). Biotropica 13:81–85

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Narazaki T, Shiomi K (2010) Reconstruction of 3-D path (ThreeD_path). http://bre.soc.i.kyoto-u.ac.jp/bls/index.php?3D_path

  13. O’Shea TJ, Poche LB (2006) Aspects of underwater sound communication in Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris). J Mammal 87:1061–1071

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Reep RL, Bonde RK (2006) The Florida manatee biology and conservation. University Press of Florida, Gainesville

    Google Scholar 

  15. Reep RL, Johnson JI, Switzer RC, Welker WI (1989) Manatee cerebral cortex: cytoarchitecture of the frontal region in (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Brain Behav Evol 34:365–386

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Reep RL, Marshall CD, Stoll ML, Whitaker DM (1998) Distribution and innervation of facial bristles and hairs in the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Mar Mammal Sci 14:257–273

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Reep RL, Stoll ML, Marshall CD, Homer BL, Samuelson DA (2001) Microanatomy of facial vibrissae in the Florida manatee: the basis for specialized sensory function and oripulation. Brain Behav Evol 58:1–14

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Reep RL, Marshall CD, Stoll ML (2002) Tactile hairs on the postcranial body in Florida manatees: a mammalian lateral line? Brain Behav Evol 59:141–154

    PubMed  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Reynolds JE (1981) Aspects of the social behavior and herd structure of a semi isolated colony of West Indian manatees, Trichechus manatus. Mammalia 45:431–451

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Sakamoto KQ, Sato K, Ishizuka M, Watanuki Y, Takahashi A, Daunt F, Wanless S (2009) Can ethograms be automatically generated using body acceleration data from free-ranging birds? PLoS One 4:e5379

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Shiomi K, Narazaki T, Sato K, Shimatani K, Arai N, Ponganis PJ, Miyazaki N (2010) Data-processing artefacts in three-dimensional dive path reconstruction from geomagnetic and acceleration data. Aquat Biol 8:299–304

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Sousa-Lima RS, Paglia AP, Da Fonseca GAB (2002) Signature information and individual recognition in the isolation calls of Amazonian manatees, Trichechus inunguis (Mammalia: Sirenia). Anim Behav 63:301–310

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank INPA staff and students, Shinichi Watanabe, Katsufumi Sato and Ichiro Aoki for their discussions and comments. This work was funded by the program “Bio-logging Science of the University of Tokyo (UTBLS)” led by N. Miyazaki and Sasagawa Scientific Research Grant, Japan Science Society, 2009.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mumi Kikuchi.

About this article

Cite this article

Kikuchi, M., da Silva, V.M.F., Rosas, F.C.W. et al. The implications of turning behaviour performed by Amazonian manatees after release into the wild. J Ethol 30, 187–190 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10164-011-0290-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Diving behaviour
  • 3D-movements
  • Trichechus inunguis