Abundance, Distribution, and Movements of Manatees (Trichechus Manatus) in Brevard County, Florida
Data on the relative abundance, distribution, and movements of manatees (Trichechus manatus) in Brevard County, Florida, were collected from January 1978 through February 1980. Aerial and land surveys showed seasonal changes in manatee abundance and distribution. Highest aerial counts were recorded in March of each year: 148 in 1978 and 245 in 1979. During the warm months, most manatees counted during aerial surveys were in the Banana River and in the Indian River between Titusville and Rockledge. Few animals were counted in the Indian River north of Titusville or in Mosquito Lagoon, suggesting that these areas are not suitable manatee habitat. During the winter, most manatees in the study area aggregated in the warm water effluents of two power plants on the Indian River. Aggregations of up to 72 manatees were also observed during the warm season in marinas and dredged coves. Forty-eight individuals, identifiable by scars, were each sighted two or more times during the study, and 29 of these were resighted only at their initial sighting locations. Some manatees, resident in Brevard County in the summer, were observed during the winter at a power plant effluent in Riviera Beach 210 km south of the study area. Eight manatees showed some fidelity to summer ranges by returning to the same or nearby locations following winter absences.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 1983
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