Manatees can feel water movements thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair — an ability that makes them one of the most touch-sensitive mammals on Earth, according to a new study led by Mote Marine Laboratory scientists.
The study tested the touch sensitivity of Mote resident manatees Hugh and Buffett, the most extensively trained manatees in the world.
“Through their extensive training, Hugh and Buffett are able to tell us how well they can sense water movement,” said Dr. Joseph Gaspard III, Mote manager of animal care, training and research, in a prepared statement. “We send out a signal which is essentially a 3D ripple, and then we ask them, ‘Did you feel that?’”
During each research trial, a manatee positions its snout against a bar and waits. Then, a scientific instrument nearby creates the ripple with a vibrating ball or stays still. When the manatees feel the water movement, they are trained to touch a yellow paddle; when they feel no movement, they are to stay put.
The manatee is rewarded with apples, beets, carrots or monkey biscuits when it responds properly.
The manatees tried their whiskers at harder and harder tests involving lower vibrations, allowing researchers to determine the manatees’ threshold values.
The study was recently published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Comparative Physiology A.
Contact Robin Hartill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Currently 0 Responses
22 Nia with Gail on Anna Maria Island
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
23 Nia with Gail on Longboat Key
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
23 Wine Tasting for Mote at Harry's on Longboat Key
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
26 St. Armands Fine Art Festival
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
A Cinderella story
A 10-week-old miniature pinscher puppy found a “happily ever after ending” at the Celebration of Pets April 12, at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds.
Pharmacy brings dose of medicine to Publix
The in-store pharmacy of Longboat Key Publix opened Monday, approximately 16 months after the completion of the new store at 525 Bay Isles Parkway, in the Shoppes of Bay Isles.
Golfer scores victory with less than a stroke
The Longboat Key Masters Golf Tournament, which took place March 28 through March 31, at the Resort at Longboat Key Club’s Islandside and Harbourside golf courses came down to less than one stroke’s difference between first-place winner Kevin Preston and second-place winner Michael Russell, of Longboat Key.