Research in Dr. Iske Larkin’s Laboratory

Reproductive anatomy and histology of male manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)

This work is being conducted by Hilda Chavez for her MS research project with Dr Larkin

In order to improve the assessment and population maintenance of the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris), the study of the reproductive physiology and anatomy can be an important role. The study of male reproduction in this species is low, with some publications related on the general description of the reproductive tract and sperm competition. It is known that mating behavior for manatees is described as “promiscuous”, where several males pursue an estrous female for up to 6 weeks. However, only a single male will be the one to fertilize the female with a single calf born (twins are rare). The goals of this research are to characterize, at the gross and histological level, the male reproductive tract, including accessory sex glands, using a variety of different tissue stains including trichrome, PAS and immunohistochemistry. We hope to address hypotheses related to the male manatee role as a sperm competitor.


Manatee Sensory Sytems Research in Dr. Roger Reep’s Laboratory is located under Comparative Neurological and Sensory Physiology.