Manatee Sleeps With The Fishes

Share Button

Movies often evoke dramatic thoughts and pictures, even years later. Such is the case when I saw the movie “The Godfather”. In a suspenseful moment, after Sal Tessio retrieved a package including a fish, Clemenza says , “It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.” I must admit I got chills when I first saw it and I never forgot that scene. But now something’s changed and I can’t quite conjure up the drama connected with that scene. Why, you ask? I think this photograph will explain why…

Manatee Sleeps With The Fishes — January 10, 2014Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. An adult manatee rests on its back in the warm freshwater. Fish, bream, Lepomis spp. surround the resting male manatee. Verticle orientation with sun rays. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

Manatees “sleep with fishes” and they do seem to enjoy it so!

So this is the picture I get in my mind now when I hear that line or think of that scene from  “The Godfather”.

Another Manatee Sleeps With The Fishes By A Warm SpringFlorida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. An adult manatee enjoys the warmth of a large warm freshwater spring. It relaxes upside down accompanied by fish, bream, Lepomis spp. The manatee tolerates the bream attention as it is the price to pay for sharing the warm waters. Bream target dermis and dead skin on the manatee. Horizontal orientation with blue water. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

While manatees typically sleep with snouts in the sand, some manatees seem to be very pleased sleeping upside down. Various fish, usually bream will often surround them, but most relaxed upside-down manatees seem pretty successful at ignoring the superfluous fish attention.

Manatee Rests While Ignoring The Annoying FishesFlorida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. An adult manatee enjoys the warmth of a warm freshwater spring. It relaxes upside down accompanied by fish, bream, Lepomis spp. The manatee tolerates the bream attention as it is the price to pay for sharing the warm waters. Bream target dermis and dead skin on the manatee. Horizontal orientation with blue water. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

 

Adult Male Manatee Sleeping With White Mullet FishesFlorida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. An adult male manatee rests and relaxes upside down in the warm freshwater springs. White mullet, Mugil curema, gather around the manatee's tail. Horizontal orientation. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

Most of the time it is male manatees I see splayed out resting on their backs, but the occasional adult female and even a calf will sometimes adopt this unique upside-down position.

Female Manatee Nurses Her Upside-down CalfFlorida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. An older manatee calf nurses in an unusual upside down position. Fish, bream, Lepomis spp., are around the mother who also has propeller scars. Horizontal orientation with blue water and submerged tree roots. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

Manatees have certainly broadened my horizons and now even a scene from a classic book and movie, filled with dramatic flair, just doesn’t have the impact it once had — “The fish means that Luca Brasi is sleeping on the bottom of the ocean.” — From “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo.

2 thoughts on “Manatee Sleeps With The Fishes

Comments are closed.