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UP NEXT: 2nd seed Manatee (Trichechus manatus) versus 12th seed Ring-tailed Vontsira (Galidia elegans) #2019MMM
The West Indian Manatee is a fully aquatic mammal (it never comes out of the water, like whales) with two subspecies that are found along the coast of Florida, islands of the Caribbean, & northeastern coast of South America (Husar, 1978) #2019MMM
Truly a sea cow, manatees are herbivores & graze on all sorts of water plants. In fact, one free-ranging manatee spent on average 11 hours per day feeding (Etheridge et al, 1985) #WayToGoGus #WhereIsPickle #AwesomeOldPapers #2019MMM
Manatees have a ton of adaptations for their fully aquatic lifestyle, including elongated lungs that run dorsally along their back, helping the manatee float through rivers, estuaries & coastal areas (Husar, 1978) #2019MMM
Manatees are also HUGE, weighing on average 430kg (1970 stoats!) & females max out at 1500kg (6.8 kilostoats...) #StoatsAsMeasurement Fully aquatic mammals can reach larger sizes than their terrestrial counterparts b/c of water's buoyancy #2019MMM
Tonight, the manatee will face off against a much smaller mammal, the Ring-tailed Vontsira (640kg mean weight, or about 3 stoats) #StoatsAsMeasurement #2019MMM
A feliform or cat-like carnivore, the vontsira is closely related to the mongoose & native to the forests of Madagascar... & therefore sympatric with the fossa (Gerber et al 2009) #CouldntResist #2019MMM
The ring-tailed vontsira is in the #WaterfallDivision because it hunts not only birds & small mammals, but also frogs & fish. Researchers have described its paws as webbed and have seen vontsira swimming in rivers (Albignac,1972) #2019MMM horizon.documentation.ird.fr/exl-doc/pleins…
Our ring-tailed vontsira finds itself hunting for tonight's dinner in the Crystal River of western Florida (Image from Wanderlust Chloe) #HomeCourt #TeamManatee #2019MMM
The vonsitra is pretty psyched, since fossa are not native to Florida & won't be around to compete with... #whew AND because this river has CRYSTAL CLEAR water, so hunting for frogs and fish is a bit easier #winning #2019MMM
The vontsira is clambering along the shoreline, partially submerged & rummaging through aquatic foliage searching for frogs, when suddenly it feels some light tension on it's tail... #2019MMM
A manatee has quietly & slowly appeared behind the vontsira, foraging for floating hyacinth by using it's large lips and perioral vibrissae (or lip whiskers) to gather food towards its mouth (Marshall et al, 2006). This is a rare & modified function of whiskers! #2019MMM
The manatee can tell the tail of the vontsira is not food & moves on, but not before the vontsira whips around to swat the giant nose of the manatee! #2019MMM
shoot! here is that manatee table.... #2019MMM
The vontsira bolts for land, not wanting to lose any more of its tail, and not seeing the damage it inflicted on the manatee... #2019MMM
.... or lack of damage, since manatees have thick, tough skin that is in a "continual state of slouthing" (Husar, 1978) #2019MMM
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