Dugong dugon   (Muller,  1776) (Sea Cow)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Mammalia

Image copyrights: Doug Perrine/Seapic.com

Size:New born: 1-1.5 m; Adult: 3 m.

The maximum recorded attainable height is 3.3 m. 3.9 m specimen reported from West coast; 3.1 m specimen reported from Gulf of Mannar. These were the exceptional sizes. Lengths of 1.5-2.0 seem to be more typical with the occasional specimen reaching 2.5 m or more.

Weight: New born:20 kg; Adult: 148 kg

Color: The coloring of the Dugong is variable. One individual was described as dull brownish grey on the back, fading to pure grey on the sides to and to dirty flesh color on the belly. Another very small dugong was of very light cream color, whilst a slightly larger one was light brown. Possibly the color changes with size or age.

The body of this large but streamlined animal is divisible into head, trunk and tail. The head is relatively small and the upper lip has a broad, horse-shoe shaped extension, which overlaps the sides of the mouth. This muzzle carries a large number of bristles, hair and pores. The forelimbs are modified as flippers, bearing a general resemblance to those of a whale. These vary greatly in size, and have no nails. There are no hind limbs. The trunk is broadest in the waist region ad narrows behind to form the tail fluke, which is horizontal and crescent-shaped. The skin is thick and covered everywhere with fine hair, which gives it a prickly appearance in certain lights. The male has 2 tusks, formed from the incisor teeth, but these are usually barely visible under the fleshy lips. Dugongs have molar teeth, but no canines.

Very little is known about their reproductive behavior. Their gestation length varies between 13-14 months and a single calf is delivered.
These occur in small groups of about 6 individuals, but they can herd in large groups of several hundred animals. Dives last for up to 8 minutes.

Synonym (s)
Dugong dugong (Muller, 1776)

Common Name (s)
• Sea Cow (English)
• Dugong (English)
• Kaddapanni (Malayalam)
• Kadalpasu (Tamil)
• Kadalpudru (Tamil)
• Kadalpanni (Tamil)
• Avilliah (Tamil)
• Avolia (Tamil)
• Bai Manas (Hindi)
• Bai Manas (Gujarati)
• Lulli (Gujarati)
• Lulli (Hindi)
• Suwar Machi (Hindi)
• Suwar Machi (Gujarati)
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Indiscriminate killing, destruction of seagrass beds is leading to habitat loss.)

Habitat:  Coastal
Prey:  Sea grass and algae
IUCN Status:  Vulnerable


• Maharashtra, Konkan Coast (Lat: 18.08) (Long: 73.42) INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands (Lat: 12.5) (Long: 92.75) INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Coast INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar (Lat: 8.5) (Long: 79) INDIA
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh (Lat: 22.6) (Long: 69.5) INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands (Lat: 12.5) (Long: 92.75) INDIA
• West Bengal, Digha Coast (Lat: 21.61) (Long: 87.53) INDIA
• Gujarat, Sachana INDIA (Record: 1877)
• Tamil Nadu, Kilakarai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin INDIA (Record: 1910)
• Tamil Nadu, Rameswaram INDIA (Record: 1928-1929)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands INDIA (Record: 08/03/1929)
• Tamil Nadu, Mandapam Camp INDIA (Record: 29/05/1950)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA (Record: 23/03/1955)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA (Record: 14/06/1955)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA (Record: 26/12/1956)
• Tamil Nadu, Hare Island INDIA (Record: 02/10/1959)
• Tamil Nadu, Hare Island INDIA (Record: 06/12/1959)
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh INDIA (Record: 06/03/1962)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA (Record: 01/1971-09/1975)
• Palk Bay INDIA (Record: 01/1971-09/1975)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Off Port Blair INDIA (Record: 08/07/1977)
• Tamil Nadu, Mandapam INDIA (Record: 12/1983, 16/12/1986, 29/03/2006)
• Gujarat, Positra Point INDIA (Record: 07/01/1987)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Pulo Kunji INDIA (Record: 07/1989)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands INDIA (Record: 1990-1997)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Little Andaman INDIA (Record: 1990-1997)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Katchall Island INDIA (Record: 1990-1997)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Camorta Island INDIA (Record: 1990-1997)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Little Nicobar INDIA (Record: 1990-1997)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Great Nicobar Island INDIA (Record: 1990-1997)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Hut Bay INDIA (Record: 19/02/1997)
• Red Sea
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA

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Page last updated on:2012-11-07

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