The Dugong dugong Dugon

Nair, R V and Lal Mohan, R S and Rao, K Satyanarayana (1975) The Dugong dugong Dugon. CMFRI Bulletin, 26 . pp. 1-49.

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Abstract

The dugong or the sea cow Dugong dugon (Muller) is a marine mammal which enjoys a wide distribution in the Indo-Pacific region from the east coast of Africa and Red Sea to Australia and Marshall, Solomon and New Caledonia Islands. It occurs in India in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay and is captured for its flesh and oil. The dugong has been reported to occur on the Saurashtra coast also. The name dugong is derived from the Malayan name duyong for the animal. Countless stories of mermaids in folklore of various countries might have been inspired by the dugong due to the resemblance in external features to human beings to some extent. The number of dugongs captured in a year on the south-east coast of India in recent times is lower compared to that in earlier years. This appears to be due to reckless exploitation. Inspite of the fact that the dugong is of economic importance not much research has been done on this species till recently. In the eighteenth century, naturalists like MUller, Lacip^de and Erxleben reported the occurrence of dugong in different parts of the Indian Ocean. The anatomy of the dugong has been investigated by Owen (1838). In the early part of the present century the Indian dugong has been studied by Annandale (1905, 1907) who has given an account of the identity, external features and habits of the dugong and also its osteology. Prater (1928) published his observations on the natural history of the dugong together with notes on the economic importance of the animal. Pocock (1940) studied in detail the skeleton of dugong. Jones (1966, 1967a, 1967b) dealt with the distribution, abundance and habits of dugongs in Indian waters and pointed out the need to protect the dugong from indiscrimi nate exploitation. Recently Bertram and Bertram (1973) investigated the relative abundance, present level of exploitation and uses of dugong in its distributional range in the Indo-Pacific region and stressed the need for rational exploitation of this animal which has become rare in most areas of occurrence. During the past about fifteen years dugongs have been successfully reared in captivity by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute at Mandapam Camp and data has been collected on various aspects like morphology, habits, growth, food, parasites, exploitation and utilization.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Dugong
Subjects:Marine Fisheries > Conservation
Marine Mammals
CMFRI Bulletin
Marine Mammals > Sea cow
Divisions:CMFRI-Cochin > Biodiversity
ID Code:655
Deposited By:Edwin Joseph
Deposited On:25 May 2010 17:14
Last Modified:18 Jan 2011 12:03

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