alternative forms: manaty, manati.
One species (Trichechus Senegalensis) inhabits the west coast of Africa; another (t. Americanus) inhabits the east coast of south America, and the west-Indies. The Florida manatee (t. Latirostris) is by some considered a distinct species, by others it is thought to be a variety of t. Americanus. It sometimes becomes fifteen feet or more in length, and lives both in fresh and salt water. It is hunted for its oil and flesh.