West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:   

Where Listed: WHEREVER FOUND

Announcements

08/14/2013 -- The West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) (Includes two subspecies, the Florida manatee, T.m. latirostris, and the Antillean manatee, T.m. manatus)

General Information

Manatees are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which prohibits the take (i.e., harass, hunt, capture, or kill) of all marine mammals. Manatees are found in marine, estuarine, and freshwater environments. The West Indian manatee, Trichechus manatus, includes two distinct subspecies, the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) and the Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus). While morphologically distinctive, both subspecies have many common features. Manatees have large, seal-shaped bodies with paired flippers and a round, paddle-shaped tail. They are typically grey in color (color can range from black to light brown) and occasionally spotted with barnacles or colored by patches of green or red algae. The muzzle is heavily whiskered and coarse, single hairs are sparsely distributed throughout the body. Adult manatees, on average, are about nine feet long (3 meters) and weigh about 1,000 pounds (200 kilograms). At birth, calves are between three and four feet long (1 meter) and weigh between 40 and 60 pounds (30 kilograms).

This population has been proposed for downlisting (Endangered -> Threatened)
  • States/US Territories in which the West Indian Manatee, Entire is known to or is believed to occur:  Alabama , Florida , Georgia , Louisiana , Mississippi , North Carolina , Puerto Rico , South Carolina , Texas
  • US Counties in which the West Indian Manatee, Entire is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
  • USFWS Refuges in which the West Indian Manatee, Entire is known to occur:  Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge  ... Show All Refuges
  • Countries in which the the West Indian Manatee, Entire is known to occur:  Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Venezuela
  • Additional species information
 
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
03/11/1967 Southeast Region (Region 4) Entire

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
07/07/2004 69 FR 40796 40805 Endangerd and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Removal of Federal Protection Status From Two Manatee Protection Areas in FLorida
06/04/1993 58 FR 31660 31664 ETWP; Emergency Rule Establishing Manatee Protection Areas in Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, FL.
01/23/2014 79 FR 3856 3859 Marine Mammal Protection Act: Final revised WIM stock assessment reports.
11/26/1997 62 FR 63062 63064 ETWP; Proposed Rule To Establish an Addititonal Manatee Sancturary in Kings Bay, Crystal River, FL
01/12/2010 75 FR 1574 1581 12-month Finding on a Petition To Revise Critical Habitat for the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)
09/20/2002 67 FR 59408 59426 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife: Emergency Rule to Establish Seven Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Florida; Final Rule
09/29/2009 74 FR 49842 49845 90-Day Finding on a Petition to Revise Critical Habitat for the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)
12/30/2009 74 FR 69136 69139 Marine Mammal Protection Act; Stock Assessment Report: Notice of Availability of final 2009 revised marine mammal stock assessment reports for two stocks of West Indian Manatees; response to comments.
11/14/2002 67 FR 69078 69104 Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior, Florida Manatees; Incidental Take During Specified Activities: Proposed rule; notice of Draft EIS availability.
03/16/2012 77 FR 15617 15635 Final Rule Establishing a Manatee Refuge in Kings Bay, Citrus County, FL
01/08/2016 81 FR 1000 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To Downlist the West Indian Manatee, and Proposed Rule To Reclassify the West Indian Manatee as Threatened
04/16/2002 67 FR 18572 18576 ETWP; Amendment to Manatee Protection Areas in Florida, Proposed rule.
08/10/2001 66 FR 42318 42350 ETWP; Proposed Rule To Establish Sixteen Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Florida; Proposed Rule
12/16/1975 40 FR 58308 58312 Proposed Determination of Critical Habitat for Snail Darter, American Crocodile, Whooping Crane, California Condor, Indiana Bat, and Florida Manatee; 40 FR 58308 58312 (Percina (Imostoma) sp., Crocodylus acutus, Grus americana, Gymnogyps californicus, Myotis sodalis, Trichechus manatus)
10/22/2003 68 FR 60316 60324 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of Federal Protection Status from Two Manatee Protection Areas in Florida
01/09/2003 68 FR 1175 1176 Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior;Florida Manatees; Incidental Take During Specified Activities: Proposed rule; extension of public comment period.
11/26/1997 62 FR 63036 63038 ETWP; Emergency Rule To Establish and Additional Manatee Sancturary in Kings Bay, Crystal River, FL
11/12/1980 45 FR 74880 74882 ETWP: Establishment of Manatee Protection Areas in Kings Bay, Crystal River, Florida
05/08/2003 68 FR 24700 24704 Marine Mammals; Incidental Take During Specified Activities
01/22/1993 58 FR 5643 5647 ETWP; Emergency Rule to Establish Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Kings Bay, Crystal River, Florida; (Trichechus manatus)
11/08/2002 67 FR 68490 68491 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Input on Additional Manatee Protection Measures
04/07/2005 70 FR 17864 17879 Final Rule: Establishment of an Additional Manatee Protection Area in Lee County, Florida
12/06/2004 69 FR 70382 70395 Establishment of an Additional Manatee Protection Area in Lee County, FL:Emergency rule.
11/08/2002 67 FR 68450 68489 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Final Rule to Establish Thirteen Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Florida; Final and Proposed Rule
09/01/2000 65 FR 53222 53223 Endangered Species; Establishment of Manatee Protection Areas
04/07/2004 69 FR 18279 18291 Establishment of an Additional Manatee Protection Area in Lee County, FL
03/11/1967 32 FR 4001 Endangered Species List - 1967
09/22/1977 42 FR 47840 47845 Final Correction and Augumentation of Critical Habitat Reorganization; 42 FR 47840 47845
11/09/2010 75 FR 68719 68725 Emergency Rule To Establish a Manatee Refuge in Kings Bay, Citrus County, FL
08/06/2004 69 FR 48102 48114 Establishment of an Additional Manatee Protection Area in Lee County, Florida; Proposed Rule and Final Rule
07/02/2014 79 FR 37706 37710 90-Day Finding on a Petition To Reclassify the West Indian Manatee From Endangered to Threatened
06/22/2011 76 FR 36493 36508 Proposed Rule To Establish a Manatee Refuge in Kings Bay, Citrus County, FL
12/27/1994 59 FR 66552 66553 Availability of Draft Recovery Plan Revision for the Florida Manatee for Review and Comment
06/02/1970 35 FR 8491 8498 Part 17 - Conservation of Endangered Species and Other Fish or Wildlife (First List of Endangered Foreign Fish and Wildlife as Appendix A)
10/16/1998 63 FR 55553 55557 ETWP; Final Rule to Establish an Additional Manatee Sancturary in Kings Bay, Crystal River, Florida
04/14/1970 35 FR 6069 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Endangered Species Conservation); 35 FR 6069
12/06/2004 69 FR 70412 70414 Establishment of an Additional Manatee Protection Area in Lee County, FL: Proposed rule; notice of public hearing and reopening of public comment period.
04/04/2003 68 FR 16602 16641 Endangered and Treatened Species: Establishment of Three Additional Manatee Protection Areas in FLorida
01/23/1979 44 FR 4745 4747 Proposed Rulemaking to Provide for the Establishment of Manatee Protection Areas
07/10/2001 66 FR 35993 35994 Notice of Availability of the Technical/Agency Draft Florida Manatee Recovery Plan, Third Revision for Review and Comment
05/13/1993 58 FR 28381 28386 ETWP; Proposed Rule to Establish Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Kings Bay, Crystal River, FL
02/19/1992 57 FR 5988 5991 (Emergency) ETWP; Emergency Rule to Establish Additional Manatee Sanctuaries in Kings Bay, Crystal River, FL
01/07/2002 67 FR 680 696 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final action to establish two additional Manatee Protection Areas in Florida.
05/12/1994 59 FR 24654 24660 ETWP; Final Rule To Establish Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Kings Bay, Crystal River, Florida
08/06/2004 69 FR 48115 48127 Emergency Rule: Establishment of an Additional Manatee Protection Area in Lee County, FLorida
08/06/2003 68 FR 46870 46917 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Establishment of Three Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Florida
09/24/1976 41 FR 41914 Determination of Critical Habitat for American Crocodile, California Condor, Indiana Bat, and Florida Manatee; 41 FR 41914 (American crocodile, Crocodylus acutus, California condor, Gymnogyps californianus; Indiana bat, Myotis sodalis; Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus)
Special Rule Publications
Date Citation Page Title
01/07/2002 67 FR 680 696 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final action to establish two additional Manatee Protection Areas in Florida.
11/26/1997 62 FR 63062 63064 ETWP; Proposed Rule To Establish an Addititonal Manatee Sancturary in Kings Bay, Crystal River, FL
06/22/2011 76 FR 36493 36508 Proposed Rule To Establish a Manatee Refuge in Kings Bay, Citrus County, FL
06/04/1993 58 FR 31660 31664 ETWP; Emergency Rule Establishing Manatee Protection Areas in Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, FL.
05/13/1993 58 FR 28381 28386 ETWP; Proposed Rule to Establish Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Kings Bay, Crystal River, FL
12/06/2004 69 FR 70382 70395 Establishment of an Additional Manatee Protection Area in Lee County, FL:Emergency rule.
08/10/2001 66 FR 42318 42350 ETWP; Proposed Rule To Establish Sixteen Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Florida; Proposed Rule
04/07/2004 69 FR 18279 18291 Establishment of an Additional Manatee Protection Area in Lee County, FL
08/06/2004 69 FR 48102 48114 Establishment of an Additional Manatee Protection Area in Lee County, Florida; Proposed Rule and Final Rule
04/07/2005 70 FR 17864 17879 Final Rule: Establishment of an Additional Manatee Protection Area in Lee County, Florida
01/22/1993 58 FR 5643 5647 ETWP; Emergency Rule to Establish Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Kings Bay, Crystal River, Florida; (Trichechus manatus)
11/12/1980 45 FR 74880 74882 ETWP: Establishment of Manatee Protection Areas in Kings Bay, Crystal River, Florida
08/06/2004 69 FR 48115 48127 Emergency Rule: Establishment of an Additional Manatee Protection Area in Lee County, FLorida
07/07/2004 69 FR 40796 40805 Endangerd and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Removal of Federal Protection Status From Two Manatee Protection Areas in FLorida
04/04/2003 68 FR 16602 16641 Endangered and Treatened Species: Establishment of Three Additional Manatee Protection Areas in FLorida
08/06/2003 68 FR 46870 46917 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Establishment of Three Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Florida
11/09/2010 75 FR 68719 68725 Emergency Rule To Establish a Manatee Refuge in Kings Bay, Citrus County, FL
05/12/1994 59 FR 24654 24660 ETWP; Final Rule To Establish Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Kings Bay, Crystal River, Florida
10/16/1998 63 FR 55553 55557 ETWP; Final Rule to Establish an Additional Manatee Sancturary in Kings Bay, Crystal River, Florida
09/20/2002 67 FR 59408 59426 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife: Emergency Rule to Establish Seven Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Florida; Final Rule
11/08/2002 67 FR 68450 68489 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Final Rule to Establish Thirteen Additional Manatee Protection Areas in Florida; Final and Proposed Rule
11/26/1997 62 FR 63036 63038 ETWP; Emergency Rule To Establish and Additional Manatee Sancturary in Kings Bay, Crystal River, FL
02/19/1992 57 FR 5988 5991 (Emergency) ETWP; Emergency Rule to Establish Additional Manatee Sanctuaries in Kings Bay, Crystal River, FL
01/23/1979 44 FR 4745 4747 Proposed Rulemaking to Provide for the Establishment of Manatee Protection Areas

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
10/30/2001 Florida Manatee Recovery Plan, Third Revision View Implementation Progress Final Revision 3
12/24/1986 Recovery Plan Puerto Rican Population of the West Indian (Antillean) Manatee View Implementation Progress Final
Other Recovery Documents
Date Citation Page Title Document Type
07/10/2001 66 FR 35993 35994 Notice of Availability of the Technical/Agency Draft Florida Manatee Recovery Plan, Third Revision for Review and Comment
  • Notice Recovery Plan Avail.
01/23/2014 79 FR 3856 3859 Marine Mammal Protection Act: Final revised WIM stock assessment reports.
  • Notice Doc. Availability
11/14/2002 67 FR 69078 69104 Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior, Florida Manatees; Incidental Take During Specified Activities: Proposed rule; notice of Draft EIS availability.
  • Notice Doc. Availability
12/27/1994 59 FR 66552 66553 Availability of Draft Recovery Plan Revision for the Florida Manatee for Review and Comment
  • Notice Recovery Plan Avail.
Five Year Review
Date Title
04/06/2007 West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) 5-Year Review

» Critical Habitat

Date Citation Page Title Document Type Status
09/22/1977 42 FR 47840 47845 Final Correction and Augumentation of Critical Habitat Reorganization; 42 FR 47840 47845 Final Rule Final designated
09/24/1976 41 FR 41914 Determination of Critical Habitat for American Crocodile, California Condor, Indiana Bat, and Florida Manatee; 41 FR 41914 (American crocodile, Crocodylus acutus, California condor, Gymnogyps californianus; Indiana bat, Myotis sodalis; Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus) Final Rule Not Required
12/16/1975 40 FR 58308 58312 Proposed Determination of Critical Habitat for Snail Darter, American Crocodile, Whooping Crane, California Condor, Indiana Bat, and Florida Manatee; 40 FR 58308 58312 (Percina (Imostoma) sp., Crocodylus acutus, Grus americana, Gymnogyps californicus, Myotis sodalis, Trichechus manatus) Proposed Rule Unknown

To learn more about critical habitat please see http://ecos.fws.gov/crithab

» Conservation Plans

No conservation plans have been created for West Indian Manatee.

» Petitions

» Life History

Habitat Requirements

Florida and Antillean manatees range freely between marine and freshwater habitats. Specific habitat types/use areas include foraging and drinking sites, resting areas, travel corridors and others. Florida manatees, living at the northern limit of the species' range, have little tolerance for cold. Historically, this sub-species has sought out natural, warm-water sites, including springs, deep water areas, and areas thermally influenced by the Gulf Stream, as refuges from the cold. In the 1930s and 40s, industrial plants, including power plants, paper mills, etc., were built along coastal and riverine shoreline areas. Plants discharging large volumes of heated discharge water into areas accessible to manatees have attracted large numbers of wintering manatees to these warm-water sites ever since. In the spring, manatees leave the warm-water sites and may travel great distances during the summer, only to return to warm water sites in the fall.

Food Habits

Manatees are herbivores that feed opportunistically on a wide variety of marine, estuarine, and freshwater plants, including submerged, floating, and emergent vegetation. Common forage plants include and are not limited to: cord grass, alga, turtle grass, shoal grass, manatee grass, eel grass, and other plant types. (Calves initially suckle and may start feeding on plants when a few months of age. Weaning generally takes place within a year of birth.) Manatees also require sources freshwater, obtained from both natural and anthropogenic sources.

Movement / Home Range

The Florida manatees' range is generally restricted to the southeastern United States; individuals occasionally range as far north as Massachusetts and as far west as Texas. Antillean manatees are found in coastal and riverine systems in South and Central America (from Brazil to Mexico) and in the Greater and Lesser Antilles throughout the Caribbean Basin. Due to a variety of human activities (hunting, loss of habitat, etc.), manatees have been extirpated from many areas and their distribution is patchy throughout the region. USFWS recovery activities primarily focus on manatees in Florida and Puerto Rico, although the species is managed throughout its range.

Reproductive Strategy

Manatees mature at three to five years of age. Mature females go into heat for anywhere from two to four weeks. Mating activity can occur throughout the year. When in heat, females will attract numerous males and mate repeatedly; aggregations that include an estrus or focal female and numerous males are described as mating herds. Gestation lasts for about 13 months and cows usually give birth to a single calf; twinning is known to occur. While calving primarily peaks in the spring, calves may be born at any time of the year. Reproductive senescence is poorly described; a known female has given birth to seven individual calves over a period of about 30 years. A calf may remain with its mother for about two years. Calving intervals range from two and three years. The oldest known manatee is 65 years of age.

Other

Per a 2011 survey, there are at least 4834 Florida manatees; Antillean manatees in Puerto Rico are thought to include about 140 animals. Both stocks are thought to be stable and perhaps increasing in certain areas. Survival and reproductive rates are generally positive, even in the face of increasing human-related threats, including watercraft, habitat loss, and other activities.

» Other Resources

NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.

ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.