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Freddie Robinette, age 12, of McConnell, West Virginia, for his question:

Where are dugongs found?

The dugongs are fat and lazy aquatic mammals. Like the seals, their arms have become flippers. They have no back legs or flippers and their wide, fishy tails are notched in the middle. Their blubbery blue gray bodies may be 10 feet long. Their floppy faces resemble piles of old rubber tires and their mobile noses are bedecked with beards of stubby bristles. The slow moving fellows feed mainly on seaweeds and their favorite haunts are shallow coastal waters.

They are found off the warm shores of the Red Sea and along the coasts of the Indian Ocean. Dugongs also live lazily off the mild shores of East Africa and Eastern Australia. Others browse in the shallow seas around Formosa and the Solomon Islands. All of their haunts are in the Old World, but the dugong has an American cousin who resembles him very closely. This fellow is the manatee, alias the sea cow. This floppy fellow lives in shallow waters off South and Central America and he may be found off the shores of Florida.


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