The Real Mermaids

Topics: Indian Ocean, Dugong, Marine mammal Pages: 2 (499 words) Published: April 5, 2013
Maybe, as a child, everyone of you has wanted to see a real mermaid, because of all the stories you’ve heard for them. Surely you have imagined this sea creatures as a very beautiful ones, and you’ve thought they aren’t real. Actually they exist, but their real appearance isn’t so magical as you dreamt. The dugong is a large marine mammal. The word "dugong" derives from the Tagalog term dugong, meaning "lady of the sea". These enormous vegetarians can be found in warm coastal waters from East Africa to Australia, including the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Pacific.Interesting fact is that they are related to the elephant, although the giant land animal is not at all similar in appearance or behavior. Dugongs are large, solid mammals, which spend their lifes in the sea. They have short front flippers and a broad and horizontally flattened tail, which they move up and down to swim. Dugong fins resemble those of dolphins, but unlike dolphins, dugongs lack a dorsal fin. Females have mammary glands under the fins from which their calves suckle. Adult dugongs weigh from 230 to 400 kg and can range from 2.4 to 4 m in length. Their thick skin is brownish-grey. Tusks are present in all dugongs, they are large and rounded. Sensory bristles that cover their upper lip assist in locating food..Dugongs are suspected to have high auditory, which compensates for poor eye sight. Paired nostrils, used in ventilation when the dugong surfaces every few minutes, are located on top of the head. Dugongs graze on underwater grasses day and night, rooting for them with their bristled, sensitive snouts and chomping them with their rough lips.These mammals can stay underwater for six minutes before surfacing. They sometimes breathe by "standing" on their tail with their heads above water.Dugongs spend much of their time alone or in pairs, though they are sometimes seen gathered in large herds of a hundred animals.Female dugongs have one calf after a yearlong...
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