[MARMAM] New publication: Tactile responses to environmental enrichment in captive Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus)

Karen Lucchini lucchini.karen at gmail.com
Tue Mar 21 08:49:26 PDT 2023

Dear MARMAM community,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce that the following paper on Antillean manatees’ tactile responses to environmental enrichment is now available online:

Lucchini, K., Umeed, R., dos Santos, P. J. P., Attademo, F. L. N., de Oliveira Luna, F., & Bezerra, B. (2023). Tactile responses to environmental enrichment in captive Antillean manatees (Trichechus manatus manatus). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 105879.

Link to paper: 
https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1gn5icF2Ooip3 <https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1gn5icF2Ooip3> - temporarily available in open access

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2023.105879 <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2023.105879>

Tactile signals are essential for Antillean manatee communication and survival because they facilitate interactions with conspecifics and the environment. Nevertheless, relatively little is known about tactile signal usage. This study aimed to assess captive Antillean manatee tactile and social responses to two stimuli presented as environmental enrichment (i.e., an infant model and a simple floating device). We also investigated the influence of sex in response to the stimuli. We investigated nine adult Antillean manatees (four males and five females aged 9–33 yrs). We found that exploratory behaviours directed towards the pool were reduced during the presentation of both stimuli. However, the manatees directed exploratory behaviours towards the stimuli. The presence of the infant model reduced social behaviours among the other animals in the oceanarium. The floating device caused no alteration in the performance of social behaviours. Females performed more “infant lifting” (i.e., a parental care-related behaviour) directed towards the infant model than males. Our results show that it is possible to stimulate natural tactile and social behaviours in captive individuals using environmental enrichment practices. We recommend continuously monitoring Antillean manatee behaviours in captivity and developing environmental enrichment practices to stimulate different communication modalities, especially tactile and vocal communication.

Please, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Karen Lucchini, MSc (she/her)
PhD student in Animal Biology/Animal Behaviour - Laboratório de Ecologia, Comportamento e Conservação | Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (LECC/UFPE)
Associate Researcher - Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade | Centro Nacional de Pesquisa e Conservação de Mamíferos Aquáticos (ICMBio/CMA)

http://lattes.cnpq.br/0466847532755310 <http://lattes.cnpq.br/0466847532755310> 
https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-lucchini-041371174/ <https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-lucchini-041371174/> 
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