Endangered Species
Ecological Services

Featured Species | Florida Manatee (18:43)

Host: Madeline Prush with Ivan Vicente

Florida manatee. Credit: USFWS (click to view more images)
Floirda manatee.
Photo credit: USFWS


Status: Endangered / Listed on March 11, 1967
Scientific Name: Trichechus manatus latirostris
Description: Manatees live in marine, brackish, and freshwater systems in coastal and riverine areas throughout their range. Preferred habitats include areas near the shore featuring underwater vegetation like seagrass and eelgrass. They feed along grass bed margins with access to deep water channels, where they flee when threatened. Florida manatees can be found throughout Florida for most of the year. However, they cannot tolerate temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time, and during the winter months these cold temperatures keep the population concentrated in peninsular Florida. Many manatees rely on the warm water from natural springs and power plant outfalls. During the summer manatees expand their range, and on rare occasions are seen as far north as Rhode Island on the Atlantic coast and as far west as Texas on the Gulf coast. Manatees may travel hundreds of miles during a year?s time, preferring to travel along channels and shorelines.
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Last updated: March 6, 2017