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Manatees Along the River Rhine between Mainz and Koblenz and hidden somewhere on the 430 foot cliffs, beautiful, mysterious, wicked sirens lure boaters and their crafts to death and destruction on the cliffs. The sirens were the Lorelei. Aphrodite’s fishtail portion of her body was allotted to lesser deities called Tritons. Tritons, male and female, rendered service and homage to Aphrodite. Early mariners were prepared to encounter mermaids and mermen in different forms at sea. These mariners found their mermaids in dugongs and manatees, the Sirenians. It is difficult to understand how mariners could mistake manatees for mermaids. The manatee is a mammal that looks like an aquatic version of an elephant. The manatee’s skin is grey to grayish brown or light to dark grey with a pink belly patch. There are barnacles and scattered hairs on the back. The manatee’s front flippers are used for steering and are paddle-shaped. There are forelimbs inside each flipper and toenails like an elephant’s on the outside; however, there are no visible toe divisions on the skin of the flipper. Its tail is round and flat. The tail propels the manatee through the water slowly, but if startled, the manatee can reach speeds up to 35 mph for short distances. The West Indian manatee can be up to thirteen feet in length and up to 3500 pounds. Its prehensile mouth parts are like an elephant’s trunk, except the manatee’s “trunk” is not as big and is bristly and split. The manatee is an aquatic mammal that lives in water 3 to 10 feet deep. The West Indian Manatee resides in the rivers of Central Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Coast. The Amazonian Manatee exists only the Amazon River system, and the African... ... middle of paper ... ..., we will conserve what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” -Baba Dioum African naturalist Bibliography: Works Cited Clark, Margarett Golf. The Vanishing Manatee. New York, Cobblehill Books, 1990. Internet: "The Trouble With Manatees" and "The Florida Water Story." March 29, 1998. search=manatee. Luoma, Jon R. "What's Killing The Manatees?" Audobon July-August 1996: v98 n4 p180-183. Odell, Daniel K, Ph.D. "Manatee." World Book Encyclopedia. 1998. O'Keef, M. Timothy. Manatees Our Vanishing Mermaids. Lakeland, Florida. Larsen's Outdoor Publishing, 1993. Zeiller, Warren. Introducing The Manatee. Jacksonville, Florida. University Press of Florida,1992.

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