Acoustical and Anatomical Determination of Sound Production and Transmission in West Indian (Trichechus manatus) and Amazonian (T. inunguis) Manatees
West Indian (Trichechus manatus) and Amazonian (T. inunguis) manatees are vocal mammals, with most sounds produced for communication between mothers and calves. While their hearing and vocalizations have been well studied, the actual mechanism of sound production is unknown. Acoustical recordings and anatomical examination were used to determine the source of sound generation. Recordings were performed on live captive manatees from Puerto Rico, Cuba and Colombia (T. manatus) and from Peru (T. inunguis) to determine focal points of sound production. The manatees were recorded using two directional hydrophones placed on the throat and nasal region and an Edirol‐R44 digital recorder. The average sound intensity level was analyzed to evaluate the sound source with a T test: paired two sample for means. Anatomical examinations were conducted on six T. manatus carcasses from Florida and Puerto Rico. During necropsies, the larynx, trachea, and nasal areas were dissected, with particular focus on identifying musculature and soft tissues capable of vibrating or constricting the airway. From the recordings we found that the acoustical intensity was significant (P < 0.0001) for both the individuals and the pooled manatees in the ventral throat region compared to the nasal region. From the dissection we found two raised areas of tissue in the lateral walls of the manatee's laryngeal lumen that are consistent with mammalian vocal folds. They oppose each other and may be able to regulate airflow between them when they are adducted or abducted by muscular control of arytenoid cartilages. Acoustic and anatomical evidence taken together suggest vocal folds as the mechanism for sound production in manatees. Anat Rec, 297:1896–1907, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media