New dwarf manatee species discovered in the Brazilian Amazon

This video is called Samona Lodge – Cuyabeno – Amazon Jungle – Ecuador.

From Wildlife Extra:

New species of Dwarf Manatee discovered in the Brazilian Amazon

Marc van Roosmalen’s … latest discovery is a new species of dwarf manatee from the Brazilian Amazon. The Amazonian manatee was thought to be the only manatee fully adapted to living in fresh water, until the discovery of the Dwarf manatee, Trichechus bernardi, or Prince Bernhard’s dwarf manatee.

The story started in September 2002 when Marc van Roosmalen collected a skull of a recently killed adult male. He had to wait for 2 years until he found living proof of the Dwarf manatee, when he was able to study and film a live specimen that was kept in a corral in its natural environment for 4 months.


Both specimens were adult males, and each measured 130 cms long and was about 90 cms in circumference. They weighed 60kgs each and have a short bristly snout. They are very dark, almost black in appearance with a white patch on the abdomen.

Habits and habitat

The Dwarf manatee seems to prefer the shallow, fast flowing streams of the Rio Arauazinho. When the river floods during the rainy season, it is reported that the dwarf manatees migrate upriver to the headwaters and shallow ponds that are not affected by seasonal flooding. They feed on semi-aquatic herbs that thrive on the bottom of shallow fast flowing streams.

Critically endangered

Dwarf manatees are considered to be critically endangered as they are highly restricted ecologically and geographically. It is thought that there may be less than 100 individuals in this population, and they are not known from any other locality. They are hunted as game, and their habitat is highly susceptible to illegal mining of gravel and gold, timber extraction and commercial fishing.

Manatees in Florida: here.

Mystery of Amazon manatee migration solved: here.

2 thoughts on “New dwarf manatee species discovered in the Brazilian Amazon

  1. Paleontologist Discovers Manatee Cousin That Lived Millions Of Years Ago

    POSTED: 1:35 pm EDT July 4, 2008

    RUSKIN, Fla. — After several decades spent digging in a phosphate pit, Frank Garcia finally emerged with a treasure that will go down in history.

    The paleontologist learned Friday that his discovery of a small manatee-like creature is an official species. It took decades and about 70 fossil pieces for Garcia to put together the long-extinct Nanosiren garciae. The fossils will now be displayed at Smithsonian Institution and the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

    Garcia found some of the animal’s bones in deep pits dug by a phosphate mining company in the 1960s. He continued searching the area, gathering bone fragments from pits in Polk and Hardee counties, sending them to the Smithsonian Institution.
    Click here to find out more!

    Daryl Domning, a professor of anatomy at Howard University, helped piece together the 6-foot animal, which he said probably lived about 5 million years ago in the Caribbean.

    It most likely became extinct when north and south America were connected, he said. The Isthmus of Panama cut off the Caribbean from the Indian Ocean and southwest Pacific Ocean, the only place dugongs are found today.

    “We knew it wasn’t like anything else, but there wasn’t anything more we could say about it until we got more complete material, like a skull,” he said. “It took a long time for that to be found.”

    The fossils were small, yet its bone structure and teeth showed it was full-grown. And at only 6 feet long, it didn’t compare to the other sea cows, which were double its size, Domning said.

    But don’t confuse this Caribbean sea cow with the beloved Florida manatee. The Nanosiren garciae had a dolphin-like tail rather than a paddle, and tusks about an inch long, Domning said.

    Gradually, Domning, Garcia and other amateur paleontologists pulled together enough evidence to convince the scientific community.

    “I spent so many hours, dug so many holes and walked so many miles of phosphate mines,” said Garcia of Ruskin. “This means a lot to me.”


  2. Pingback: Small mammals sounding like big mammals | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.