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Florida Manatee
(Trichechus manatus latirostris) #85-32

Picture of the animal

Distribution map

Whole brain image

Whole brain photographs
Brain section image

Whole atlas - coronal section, fiber stain
Movie Atlas | Picture Atlas
Whole Brain - coronal section, cell stain
Movie Atlas | Picture Atlas
Thalamus atlas - coronal section, cell stain
Movie Atlas | Picture Atlas

Brainstem - coronal section, cell stain
Movie Atlas | Picture Atlas

Spinal cord - coronal section,
cell and fiber stain

Cell Stain Atlas | Fiber Stain Atlas

Physical characteristics and distribution

Florida Manatee Trichechus manatus latirostris

Adult Florida Manatees are an average of 300-400 cm in length and weigh under 500 kg, though individuals may be between 250 - 450 cm and weigh anywhere from 200 - 600 kg. Females may be bulkier than males, but there is no data indicating a size difference dependent on gender. The gray or brown skin in covered with fine wrinkles and sparsely distributed fine, colorless wiry hairs which are 30-45 mm long. There is a prehensile pad on the upper lip which is covered with short and stiff bristly hair. The head is broad and the snout downturned. There are nails on the dorsal surface of the flippers.

This species is found in coastal waters, bays, lagoons and estuaries in both fresh and salt water. It may prefer fresh water, and congregate near hot springs or power plant discharge sites during colder months.

They are herbivorous, but often ingest small invertebrates which may provide an important source of protein. In captivity, T. manatus latirostris has been known to consume up to one fourth its body weight per day in wet greens. This manatee is primarily a solitary and nomadic animal traveling established routes over hundreds of kilometers. The channels used are usually 2 meters or more in depth and the manatees like to swim at a depth of 1-3 meters. Speeds average between 3-7 km/hr, but 25 km/hr may be obtained when necessary.

There seems to be no specific breeding season and during estrus a single female may be accompanied by as many as 17 males. There is often vigorous pushing and shoving between the males to gain a position next to the female and this may be the only time there is any aggressive behavior exhibited among the species. Generally, one calf is born after a 13 month gestation period. The interval between births is about 2.5 years, unless a calf is lost. The only lasting bond between manatees appears to be that established by mother and calf. At birth, the newborn is 120-130 cm long and weighs 28-36 kg. The darkly colored baby is capable of swimming and surfacing on its own within a half day of birth, but occasionally rides on its mother’s back. Weaning occurs when the offspring leaves its mother, at 1 or 2 years of age, but can taker vegetation at 1-3 months. Males reach sexual maturity at 9-10 years of age, females at 8-9 years.

T. manatus latirostris is found in the Caribbean coastal areas and river systems from Virginia, USA to Espirito Santo, Brazil.

Description of the brain

The brain of the Florida Manatee is about the size of a softball. The surface of the cerebral cortex is relatively unconvoluted when compared with other mammals of similar size (cow, zebra, seal).

Animal source and preparation
All specimens collected followed the same preparation and histological procedure.

Other Related Resources (websites and publications)


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