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First documentation of long-distance travel by a Florida manatee to the Mexican Caribbean

September 3, 2021

West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus) are separated into two allopatric subspecies: the Florida manatee (T. m. latirostris) and the Antillean manatee (T. m. manatus). In the winter of 2020–2021, an adult manatee was sighted off the coast of Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, in areas where Antillean manatees are not typically seen. The individual had distinct watercraft scars on its body, which were matched using photo-identification to a known male Florida manatee (PE424) that had been repeatedly photographed in Florida since 1998. This is the first record of a Florida manatee visiting the Mexican Caribbean. Previous reports of individuals from this subspecies in Cuba, combined with genetic evidence, suggest some level of connectivity among geographically separated manatee populations.

  • We present the first evidence of along-distance movement by amanatee from Florida to the Yucatan Peninsula (Quintana Roo, Mexican Caribbean).

  • This case, previous reports of Florida manatees in Cuba, and genetic evidence, suggest acertain degree of genetic mixture among the two subspecies.

Publication Year 2022
Title First documentation of long-distance travel by a Florida manatee to the Mexican Caribbean
DOI 10.1080/03949370.2021.1967457
Authors Nataly Castelblanco-Martínez, Anmari Álvarez-Alemán, Raul Torres, Amy L. Teague, Sheri Barton, Kari A Rood, Eric A Ramos, Antonio A. Mignucci-Giannoni
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ethology, Ecology and Evolution
Index ID 70223844
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southeast Ecological Science Center; Wetland and Aquatic Research Center