• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Recommendations
 Introduction
 Procedures
 Identification techniques that...
 Techniques for marking restrained...
 Design concepts useful for development...
 Discussion
 Conclusions
 Acknowledgement
 Literature cited
 Appendix A: Sources and costs of...






Group Title: Manatee population report no. 6.
Title: Review of manatee marking techniques, 1984
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Full Citation
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073817/00001
 Material Information
Title: Review of manatee marking techniques, 1984 final report
Series Title: Manatee population research report
Physical Description: 29 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Packard, Jane M
Publisher: Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1984
 Subjects
Subject: Manatees -- Florida   ( lcsh )
West Indian manatee -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Animal marking -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 25-27).
Statement of Responsibility: Jane M. Packard.
General Note: "Prepared for: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 75 Spring Street, S.W., Atlanta, GA 30303; cooperative agreement no. 14-16-0009-1544, research work order no. 2."
Funding: This collection includes items related to Florida’s environments, ecosystems, and species. It includes the subcollections of Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit project documents, the Sea Grant technical series, the Florida Geological Survey series, the Coastal Engineering Department series, the Howard T. Odum Center for Wetland technical reports, and other entities devoted to the study and preservation of Florida's natural resources.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073817
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001892632
oclc - 29860777
notis - AJW7878

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title page
    Table of Contents
        Table of contents
    Recommendations
        Page 1
    Introduction
        Page 2
    Procedures
        Page 2
    Identification techniques that do not require capture
        Page 3
        Natural scars and physical characteristics
            Page 3
            Page 4
            Page 5
            Page 6
        Aerosol paint
            Page 7
        Paintstik
            Page 8
        Spaghetti dart
            Page 8
        Tail notch
            Page 9
        Peduncle transmitter strap
            Page 10
    Techniques for marking restrained manatees
        Page 11
        Sutured transmitter
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
        Freezebrand
            Page 14
        Elastic peduncle strap
            Page 14
        Peduncle transmitter strap
            Page 15
        Peduncle flag strap
            Page 15
    Design concepts useful for development of techniques
        Page 16
        Sutured soft plate
            Page 16
            Page 17
        Dermal tag
            Page 18
        Transponder capsule
            Page 18
        Swivel spaghetti dart
            Page 19
        Coded shot
            Page 20
        Coded wire
            Page 20
        Bolted tail plate
            Page 21
        Post and hole tag
            Page 21
    Discussion
        Page 22
    Conclusions
        Page 23
    Acknowledgement
        Page 24
    Literature cited
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Appendix A: Sources and costs of materials
        Page 28
        Page 29
Full Text





REVIEW OF MANATEE MARKING TECHNIQUES


1984


FINAL REPORT




Jane M. Packard

Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

School of Forest Resources and Conservation

117 Newins-Ziegler Hall

University of Florida, IFAS

Gainesville, FL 32611


Prepared for:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

75 Spring Street, S.W.

Atlanta, GA 30303




Cooperative Agreement No. 14-16-0009-1544

Research Work Order No. 2


Citation should read: Packard, J. M. 1984. Review of manatee marking
techniques. Manatee Population Research Report No. 6. Technical Report No.
8-6. Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. University of
Florida, Gainesville, Florida. 29 pp.









TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE


RECOMMENDATIONS 1

INTRODUCTION 2

PROCEDURES -2

IDENTIFICATION TECHNIQUES THAT DO NOT REQUIRE CAPTURE 3

Natural Scars and Physical Characteristics 3
Aerosol Paint 7
Paintstik 8
Spaghetti Dart 8
Tail Notch 9
Peduncle Transmitter Strap 10

TECHNIQUES FOR MARKING RESTRAINED MANATEES 11

Sutured Transmitter 11
Freezebrand 14
Elastic Peduncle Strap 14
Peduncle Transmitter Strap 15
Peduncle Flag Strap 15

DESIGN CONCEPTS USEFUL FOR DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNIQUES 16

Sutured Soft Plate 16
Dermal Tag 18
Transponder Capsule 18
Swivel Spaghetti Dart 19
Coded Shot 20
Coded Wire 20
Bolted Tail Plate 21
Post and Hole Tag 21

DISCUSSION 22

CONCLUSIONS 23

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 24

LITERATURE CITED 25

APPENDICES

A. Sources and Costs of Materials 28








RECOMMENDATIONS

1. The problems involved with marking manatees are both technological and
biological. Marking techniques developed for whales, cetaceans and
pinnipeds have not been successfully applied to manatees for several
reasons. Manatees lack readily visible appendages. The thick, tough
skin of manatees resists penetration by darts. Capture of the large,
totally aquatic mammals is logistically difficult. Habitat
characteristics present problems for effective use of radio and sonic
telemetry. Development of effective marking techniques has already
begun, but will require considerable additional effort.
2. For long-term (6 to 12 months) identification of individual manatees,
resources should be committed to consistently maintaining an updated
file of natural marks. Freezebranding should be used to mark manatees
that are captured and do not have distinctive, reliably recognizable
natural marks. Application of notches to the perimeter of the tail can
be used to mark otherwise unrecognizable calves.
3. The peduncle strap is a proven, relatively low risk and durable
technique for attaching telemetry devices or visual marks. Additional
effort is needed to perfect the technology of attaching tethered
floating transmitters to free-ranging manatees.

4. For short-term (days to months) identification of manatees, available
options include paintstiks, spaghetti darts, sutured transmitters, and
peduncle flag straps.

5. A technique for visually marking large numbers of free-ranging manatees
needs to be developed. The dermal tag currently appears to be the most
promising of the design concepts evaluated for this purpose.

6. Additional information should be obtained to further evaluate the
feasibility of potential new tagging techniques. Studies should include
examination of (a) tissue response to imbedded hooks, posts, wire, metal
spheres and bolts through the tail, (b) application techniques (in
vitro) for coded shot and wire, transponder capsules, and modifieT
TTvestock ear tags, (c) feasibility of detection for transponders, coded
shot and wire, and (d) durability (e.g. in a water flow test chamber) of
materials suitable for sutured soft plates, bolted plates and swivel
streamers.









INTRODUCTION

Development of effective techniques to mark manatees (Trichechus
manatus) would greatly enhance studies of the population biology of the
species (Eberhardt 1982). However, efforts to apply existing techniques for
marking marine mammals have encountered numerous difficulties when tested on
manatees (Irvine and Scott 1984).

A variety of techniques has been investigated for marking large numbers
of pinnipeds, sea otters (Hobbs and Russell 1979), and cetaceans (White et
al. 1981, Hobbs and Goebel 1982, Irvine et al. 1982). In general, problems
encountered are specific to each species and/or research circumstance, and
considerable effort has been expended in developing successful techniques.
Knowledge gained in developing techniques to mark other marine mammals may
aid in developing marking techniques for manatees.

General information regarding existing and potential techniques for
identifying and tracking manatees is summarized in this review, with the
purpose of focusing future studies. This report is also intended to provide
background information to aid evaluation of proposed research. For specific
information about each technique, the reader is referred to source materials
and persons that were actively involved in the research.
The evaluation of tag suitability for specific projects has to take into
account a number of factors, including the feasibility of capturing or
approaching unrestrained manatees, water salinity, reproductive condition,
age, and public opinion about esthetics. This report does not address these
broader issues; rather, sources of information on the technical aspects of
existing and potential techniques have been compiled.

PROCEDURES
The terms "mark", "natural mark" and "tag" have acquired specific
meanings when used in reference to animal identification. In this review,
"mark" will be used as a generic term to refer to all means of
identification, including characteristics of individual animals which were
not created for research purposes (natural marks), alteration of anatomical
features for research purposes (the meaning of "mark" in most discussions of
marine mammal identification), and application of inert materials to the body
of the animal (tags). Terms are defined in this manner to avoid the
necessity of using compound words such as "mark/tag techniques."
Existing and potential techniques for marking manatees were identified
by review of the literature and discussions with persons involved in
development of techniques for marking fish, terrestrial mammals and marine
mammals. These techniques were divided into three categories for purposes of
description and evaluation: (1) techniques for identifying free-ranging
manatees, (2) techniques for marking restrained manatees, and (3) design
concepts useful for future development of techniques to mark manatees.
These categories were chosen to aid in making management decisions for
the following reasons. Restraint of large numbers of manatees for marking
purposes would require considerably more effort and resources than marks









INTRODUCTION

Development of effective techniques to mark manatees (Trichechus
manatus) would greatly enhance studies of the population biology of the
species (Eberhardt 1982). However, efforts to apply existing techniques for
marking marine mammals have encountered numerous difficulties when tested on
manatees (Irvine and Scott 1984).

A variety of techniques has been investigated for marking large numbers
of pinnipeds, sea otters (Hobbs and Russell 1979), and cetaceans (White et
al. 1981, Hobbs and Goebel 1982, Irvine et al. 1982). In general, problems
encountered are specific to each species and/or research circumstance, and
considerable effort has been expended in developing successful techniques.
Knowledge gained in developing techniques to mark other marine mammals may
aid in developing marking techniques for manatees.

General information regarding existing and potential techniques for
identifying and tracking manatees is summarized in this review, with the
purpose of focusing future studies. This report is also intended to provide
background information to aid evaluation of proposed research. For specific
information about each technique, the reader is referred to source materials
and persons that were actively involved in the research.
The evaluation of tag suitability for specific projects has to take into
account a number of factors, including the feasibility of capturing or
approaching unrestrained manatees, water salinity, reproductive condition,
age, and public opinion about esthetics. This report does not address these
broader issues; rather, sources of information on the technical aspects of
existing and potential techniques have been compiled.

PROCEDURES
The terms "mark", "natural mark" and "tag" have acquired specific
meanings when used in reference to animal identification. In this review,
"mark" will be used as a generic term to refer to all means of
identification, including characteristics of individual animals which were
not created for research purposes (natural marks), alteration of anatomical
features for research purposes (the meaning of "mark" in most discussions of
marine mammal identification), and application of inert materials to the body
of the animal (tags). Terms are defined in this manner to avoid the
necessity of using compound words such as "mark/tag techniques."
Existing and potential techniques for marking manatees were identified
by review of the literature and discussions with persons involved in
development of techniques for marking fish, terrestrial mammals and marine
mammals. These techniques were divided into three categories for purposes of
description and evaluation: (1) techniques for identifying free-ranging
manatees, (2) techniques for marking restrained manatees, and (3) design
concepts useful for future development of techniques to mark manatees.
These categories were chosen to aid in making management decisions for
the following reasons. Restraint of large numbers of manatees for marking
purposes would require considerably more effort and resources than marks









applied to unrestrained manatees. Thus, the decision of whether to use a
technique involving restraint is of a higher order than the decision of which
technique to use. Potential design concepts need to be examined separately
to identify information required prior to application of the technique to
manatees.
Various criteria have been.used to evaluate techniques for identifying
individual marine mammals (Table 1). In the present review, evaluation of
information gains will be separated from evaluation of other considerations
such as logistics, costs and risks to the animals. These criteria are
separated because questions of information gain are related more to the
scientific aspects of a study, while questions of feasibility are related
more to the permitting and funding processes. Criteria used to evaluate
information gains will be: mark retention time, detection technique,
detection distance, reliability of detection, and number and type of
available codes. Criteria used to evaluate feasibility will be: application
time, application equipment, tissue trauma, behavioral disturbance, other
risks, costs, and durability.

IDENTIFICATION TECHNIQUES THAT DO NOT REQUIRE CAPTURE

Individual manatees have been identified by distinctive scars and other
physical characteristics (Moore 1956, Reynolds 1977, Hartman 1979, Packard
1981, Powell 1981, Powell and Waldron 1981, Shane i961, Kinnaird and Valade
1983, Rathbun et al. 1983, Shane 1983, Powell and Rathbun 1984). Marks have
been applied to unrestrained manatees by means of paint, projectile darts,
lances (Irvine and Scott 1984), notching (Rathbun et al. 1983) and
diver-attached peduncle straps (Bengtson 1981, Powell and Rathbun 1984).
Each of these techniques are described below and then evaluated in terms of
potential information gains (Table 2) and feasibility (Table 3). Techniques
are grouped according to the location of the mark on the body of the manatee,
because mark location influences reliability of detection. In general, the
anterior and mid portion of a manatee is more likely to be visible than the
posterior portion (Packard et al. 1983).

Natural Scars and Physical Characteristics

Description

Techniques for identifying manatees by means of distinctive physical
characteristics are described in detail by Rathbun et al. (1983). Marks
recorded by photographs taken above or below the water surface have been
catalogued by a punched-card file sorting system. Marks have also been
recorded by sketches made above water or on an underwater slate (Moore 1956,
Reynolds 1977, Hartman 1979, Powell and Waldron 1981). However, the combined
use of photographs and sketches is generally preferred due to image
distortion by the water surface and camera angle, to incomplete images of the
entire body, and to inaccurate drawings (Packard 1981, Shane 1981, Kinnaird
and Valade 1983, Rathbun et al. 1983, Powell and Rathbun 1984).









applied to unrestrained manatees. Thus, the decision of whether to use a
technique involving restraint is of a higher order than the decision of which
technique to use. Potential design concepts need to be examined separately
to identify information required prior to application of the technique to
manatees.
Various criteria have been.used to evaluate techniques for identifying
individual marine mammals (Table 1). In the present review, evaluation of
information gains will be separated from evaluation of other considerations
such as logistics, costs and risks to the animals. These criteria are
separated because questions of information gain are related more to the
scientific aspects of a study, while questions of feasibility are related
more to the permitting and funding processes. Criteria used to evaluate
information gains will be: mark retention time, detection technique,
detection distance, reliability of detection, and number and type of
available codes. Criteria used to evaluate feasibility will be: application
time, application equipment, tissue trauma, behavioral disturbance, other
risks, costs, and durability.

IDENTIFICATION TECHNIQUES THAT DO NOT REQUIRE CAPTURE

Individual manatees have been identified by distinctive scars and other
physical characteristics (Moore 1956, Reynolds 1977, Hartman 1979, Packard
1981, Powell 1981, Powell and Waldron 1981, Shane i961, Kinnaird and Valade
1983, Rathbun et al. 1983, Shane 1983, Powell and Rathbun 1984). Marks have
been applied to unrestrained manatees by means of paint, projectile darts,
lances (Irvine and Scott 1984), notching (Rathbun et al. 1983) and
diver-attached peduncle straps (Bengtson 1981, Powell and Rathbun 1984).
Each of these techniques are described below and then evaluated in terms of
potential information gains (Table 2) and feasibility (Table 3). Techniques
are grouped according to the location of the mark on the body of the manatee,
because mark location influences reliability of detection. In general, the
anterior and mid portion of a manatee is more likely to be visible than the
posterior portion (Packard et al. 1983).

Natural Scars and Physical Characteristics

Description

Techniques for identifying manatees by means of distinctive physical
characteristics are described in detail by Rathbun et al. (1983). Marks
recorded by photographs taken above or below the water surface have been
catalogued by a punched-card file sorting system. Marks have also been
recorded by sketches made above water or on an underwater slate (Moore 1956,
Reynolds 1977, Hartman 1979, Powell and Waldron 1981). However, the combined
use of photographs and sketches is generally preferred due to image
distortion by the water surface and camera angle, to incomplete images of the
entire body, and to inaccurate drawings (Packard 1981, Shane 1981, Kinnaird
and Valade 1983, Rathbun et al. 1983, Powell and Rathbun 1984).









Table 1. Criteria for evaluating marks applied to marine mammals.


Source


Criteria


Hobbs and Russell
1979; page 31






















White et al. 1981


a. Tags should be both retained and visible for the
life of the animal.
b. Tags should be readable (both sides) from a
distance and identify both the animal and the
tagger.
c. Application should be quick, preferably in one
step, and should minimize disturbance to the
animals.
d. Tags/marks should not affect the economic value
of the animal.
e. Tags and marks must be tissue compatible and not
not affect behavior of the animal.
f. Conventional letters and numbers will increase
reliability of resights.
g. Name and address of investigator should appear on
all tags to facilitate tag return and tag-
associated mortality studies.
h. Marking equipment, such as lasers and branding
gear, must be commensurate with field logistics.
i. Tag designs should be evaluated in terms of
possible increased shark predation and chance of
entanglement in fishing gear, kelp, rocks, and
the like.
j. Cost of tags and marks should be minimal.



a. Tag design should minimize tissue trauma.
b. Tags should be fabricated from biocompatible
materials.
c. Materials-should be durable for at least one year
under field conditions.
d. Application time should be less than one minute pe
animal.
e. Equipment should be designed to allow marking of
large numbers of animals.
f. Cryogenic equipment should be designed for marking
with multiple symbol capacity.
g. Freezebranding equipment materials should be
durable at cryogenic temperatures and in field
situations.
h. Marking equipment should be portable in field*
situations.
i. Mark should be legible for at least one year.


----


--











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Potential Information Gain

Retention of natural marks is variable. Superficial scrapes and
scratches may persist for only a few months to a year, whereas scar tissue
from lacerations over 2 cm wide or cuts deeper than 1.5 cm usually persist
longer (Powell and Rathbun 1984). Marks change as pigmented epidermal cells
invade light scar tissue, and marks may be obscured by sessile aquatic
organisms attached to the skin, e.g. algae, barnacles, bryophytes (Hartman
1979).

Detection of natural marks requires close observation in most cases,
although a few scars are large enough to be visible from an airplane. The
mark must be recorded at the time of observation by a photograph and/or
sketch; observers may differ in interpretation of sketches. A catalogue of
marks must be consistently updated by experienced observers because new marks
appear and old marks change on individual manatees (Rathbun et al. 1983,
Powell and Rathbun 1984).

The number of manatees that can be identified by natural marks is
theoretically unlimited, since there are infinite possible combinations of
pattern, location and coloration. A statewide catalogue identified 652
manatees in 1983 (Rathbun et al. 1983), but difficulties in pattern
recognition may limit the number of individuals that can be reliably
identified. Different marks may appear similar, or different images of the
same mark may appear different, meaning that it is not uncommon to assign a
new identity to the manatee in a photograph and later discover that it was
previously catalogued (Packard 1981, Rathbun et al. 1983). Such errors are
reduced by experience, but inherent differences in observers' pattern
recognition abilities should be recognized and accounted for in use of the
technique.

Feasibility

Identification of manatees by natural marks is a low-cost technique that
involves no application effort but considerable effort for reliable
detection. Behavioral disturbance is minimal if underwater photographs are
taken by a swimmer that approaches carefully.

Aerosol paint

Description

Paint was applied for 1 second by rubbing the applicator of an aerosol
can against the skin of a captive manatee (Irvine and Scott 1984, p. 17).
The mark was applied under water.

Potential Information Gain

Paint marks were retained for short periods (7-10 days) when properly
applied (Irvine and Scott 1984). Visual detection requires close proximity,
but should be moderately reliable. Because the mark is unlikely to be more
than a patch of color, coded information is limited to the color and location
of the mark.








Feasibility

Although aerosol paint may be applied in seconds, bubbles from the spray
can startle manatees and the paint leaves a residue on the water surface
(Irvine and Scott 1984). Cost is low and there was no evidence of skin
response to the paint.

Paintstik

Description

Oil-based crayon-like markers were used to paint numerals (45 cm high)
on restrained captive manatees and to mark unrestrained free-ranging manatees
(Irvine and Scott 1984, p. 17). The marks take a few hours to solidify after
application.

Potential Information Gain

Although a paintstik mark lasted for 5 weeks on a captive manatee, marks
applied to free-ranging.manatees were smeared within 3-5 days (Irvine and
Scott 19847. Large symbols marked on the back of a manatee were detected
from an airplane (at 150 m) and a boat. Information could be coded by color,
location of the mark, and symbols.

Feasibility

Marks from paintstiks are quickly applied with little equipment or
disturbance to the animals (Irvine and Scott 1984). Cost is low, but
durability is short, apparently due to rubbing behavior of the manatees.

Spaghetti Dart

Description

-A metal dart head that is designed to toggle about 2 cm under the
surface of the skin has been applied by a hand-held lance, a thrown lance,
and a crossbow (Irvine and Scott 1984, p. 17). A long plastic streamer
(10-20 cm by 0.2 or 1 cm) was attached to the dart head. Free-ranging
manatees were tagged at distances of 1 to 10 m, from positions on the shore
or in a boat. Design of the spaghetti tag is described by Evans et al.
(1972) and White et al. (1981; p. 50).

Sonic and radio transmitters have been taped to spaghetti tag darts
(Irvine and Scott 1984, p. 19). The buoyancy of each transmitter was
augmented by attaching a cork to the distal end.
Potential Information Gain

Retention time of spaghetti tags varies from a few days to four months,
depending on depth of dart penetration and on tissue response to the wound
(Irvine and Scott 1984). Information can be coded by color and location of
the tag as well as the writing on the tag. However, the tag is not very








Feasibility

Although aerosol paint may be applied in seconds, bubbles from the spray
can startle manatees and the paint leaves a residue on the water surface
(Irvine and Scott 1984). Cost is low and there was no evidence of skin
response to the paint.

Paintstik

Description

Oil-based crayon-like markers were used to paint numerals (45 cm high)
on restrained captive manatees and to mark unrestrained free-ranging manatees
(Irvine and Scott 1984, p. 17). The marks take a few hours to solidify after
application.

Potential Information Gain

Although a paintstik mark lasted for 5 weeks on a captive manatee, marks
applied to free-ranging.manatees were smeared within 3-5 days (Irvine and
Scott 19847. Large symbols marked on the back of a manatee were detected
from an airplane (at 150 m) and a boat. Information could be coded by color,
location of the mark, and symbols.

Feasibility

Marks from paintstiks are quickly applied with little equipment or
disturbance to the animals (Irvine and Scott 1984). Cost is low, but
durability is short, apparently due to rubbing behavior of the manatees.

Spaghetti Dart

Description

-A metal dart head that is designed to toggle about 2 cm under the
surface of the skin has been applied by a hand-held lance, a thrown lance,
and a crossbow (Irvine and Scott 1984, p. 17). A long plastic streamer
(10-20 cm by 0.2 or 1 cm) was attached to the dart head. Free-ranging
manatees were tagged at distances of 1 to 10 m, from positions on the shore
or in a boat. Design of the spaghetti tag is described by Evans et al.
(1972) and White et al. (1981; p. 50).

Sonic and radio transmitters have been taped to spaghetti tag darts
(Irvine and Scott 1984, p. 19). The buoyancy of each transmitter was
augmented by attaching a cork to the distal end.
Potential Information Gain

Retention time of spaghetti tags varies from a few days to four months,
depending on depth of dart penetration and on tissue response to the wound
(Irvine and Scott 1984). Information can be coded by color and location of
the tag as well as the writing on the tag. However, the tag is not very








visible from a distance of more than a few meters and the numbers are -legible
only in close proximity to the animal.

Transmitters attached to spaghetti tags were lost 3-11 days after
application (Irvine and Scott 1984). Sonic signals were detectable at 25-400
m, but were difficult to locate, possibly due to signal interference by
vegetation and reflection in shallow areas. Detection of radio signals is
limited to conditions of low anion concentrations; the signal is attenuated
in saltwater or spring water with high calcium content. The tape used to
attach the transmitter can be color coded and is more visible than the
spaghetti tag. The number of identifiable transmitters in an area is limited
to less than 20, because information is coded by frequency or pulse length
and interval.

Feasibility

Although spaghetti tags are quickly applied by lance or crossbow, a
great deal of force is necessary for attachment (Irvine and Scott 1984). For
example, the skin is so thick and tough that four attempts were needed to
properly penetrate the skin of a captive manatee on one trial. The angle and
force of application is difficult to control in applying spaghetti tags to
free-ranging manatees. Wounds did not heal around spaghetti tags, although
they healed after tags were lost or removed. If tags are applied by
crossbow, there is some risk that the tag may hit other than the targeted
area and cause unintentional injury to the manatee. The streamer was lost
from several tags, making detection difficult. Cost is low to moderate,
relative to other techniques.

A spaghetti tag with attached transmitter separated from the dart tip
after four days, suggesting an increased probability of breaking the tag if a
transmitter is attached (Irvine and Scott 1984). Weed entanglement
apparently caused one tag to pull out, but it probably did not cause any risk
to the manatee. The portable receiver and hydrophone used to detect the
signal are logistically manageable. However, the low-power output and poor
directionality of the signal often made tracking difficult in open water.
Detection might be improved by a hydrophone array, which would increase costs
and logistical difficulties. Otherwise, costs would be moderate to high.

Tail Notch

Description

One or two notches have been cut in the posterior tail margins of
manatee calves (Rathbun et al. 1983, Appendix II). The notches are 1-2 cm
deep and in the form of a "V" or "U". The notches are cut by a tool that has
opposing jaws and handles (similar to pliers) to provide leverage for a
swimmer who approaches the calf underwater.

Potential Information Gain

The shape of notches changes during healing, and the size of the mark
relative to the tail margin changes as the manatee grows (Rathbun, pers.
commun.). Although the marks should last for years, few marked calves have









been re-identifed as adults. An underwater photograph is needed to identify
tail notches. Information can be coded by the location, shape and number of
notches.

Feasibility

Tail notches are quickly cut, with minimal tissue trauma and behavioral
disturbance (Rathbun, pers. commun.). A larger cutting tool might improve
retention and detectability of marks. Cost is relatively low.

Peduncle Transmitter Strap

Description

Radio transmitters have been attached to the peduncles of manatees by a
means of a strap fastened by a swimmer (Bengtson 1981; p. 20, Powell and
Rathbun 1984). Attachment devices that have been tested include corrosible
bolts, two sizes of delrin snap buckles, brass snap buckles, and a sliding
buckle on a nylon strap (Rathbun, pers. commun.). The girth of the peduncle
must be measured to custom-fit the strap for all these attachments except the
sliding buckle. The strap with a sliding buckle is long enough to fit over
the head as the mandate swims through, and it is tightened when the loop
reaches the peduncle. Buckles have been attached by corrosible bolts to
rubberized nylon machine belting that is encased in surgical tubing filled
with silicone (Powell and Rathbun 1984). Currently under development, a
radio transmitter in a buoyant package has been attached to the strap by
means of a stiff tether (2 m) on a swivel joint (Rathbun pers, commun.). The
transmitter has also been attached directly to the strap for use in
freshwater (Bengtson 1981).

Potential Information Gain

Peduncle straps are designed to release by corrosion of bolts at about a
year; however, most have been lost prior to that time (Rathbun et al. 1983).
When floating, the tethered transmitter is visible from several hundred
meters, and the radio signal can be detected from several kilometers. When
*the radio is submerged in saltwater, the signal is attenuated. Coded
information would be the same as for the transmitter dart.

The sliding buckle attachment is easier to apply than the peduncle strap
attachments that require custom fitting (Rathbun, pers. commun.). The delrin
buckles were not durable, so are not considered to be feasible for long-term
attachment of peduncle straps. Tissue abrasion sometimes occurs at the
lateral edges of the peduncle but no serious problems have been reported. A
weak link in the attachment protects the manatee from entanglement of the
tether. The transmitter is subject to being hit by a boat or pulled by
curious people. The portable radio receiver and antennae are logistically
manageable, but the cost of the system is relatively high.








TECHNIQUES FOR MARKING RESTRAINED MANATEES

Several techniques have been investigated for marking manatees under
conditions where they can be captured and restrained. Transmitter
attachments include a floating package sutured to the skin at the base of the
head, an elastic peduncle strap (Irvine and Scott 1984), and a bolted
non-elastic peduncle strap (Bengtson 1981). The skin has been marked by
freezebranding (Irvine and Scott 1984), and a vinyl flag has been attached to
a bolted peduncle strap (Packard et al. 1983). These techniques are
described below and evaluated in terms of potential information gains (Table
4) and feasibility (Table 5). The cost and effort expended in capturing
manatees are not considered in this evaluation, although such considerations
would have to be included in use of these techniques.

Sutured Transmitter

Description.

Of several suture attachments applied in captivity, the most successful
technique was a single suture on the anterior and posterior edge of a plate
(Irvine and Scott 1984). Sutures were 3 cm deep and made of entwined nylon,
silk and steel. A simulated transmitter package (wooden float) was attached
by a short tether (20 cm) to a wood block (12 cm x 4 cm x 2 cm) sutured
posterior to the skull.

Transmitters were attached to padded stainless steel plates on two
manatees released from captivity. One transmitter was directly on the plate
and the other was attached by a 30 cm stainless steel tether. The plates
were attached by six shallow (1 cm deep) stainless steel sutures at the back
of the skull.
Potential Information Gain

Although the sutured transmitter package was retained for months in
captivity, it only lasted for 3-4 weeks on free-ranging manatees (Irvine and
Scott 1984). Retention time may have been influenced by depth of sutures;
the tags placed on released manatees were attached with shallower sutures
than the most successful tag tested in captivity. The floating transmitter
was visible and the radio signal was detected from 1 km. While transmitters
were functioning, location was reliable within 100 m. The number of codes
available for visual identification of manatees is limited by combinations of
colored tape on the transmitter, and the number of radio channels is limited
by the frequency range of the receiver and drift of each transmitter.

Feasibility
Application time and equipment are minimal, and suture wounds healed
after sutures pulled out (Irvine and Scott 1984). No behavioral disturbance
was observed, but there is some chance that the tethered transmitter could
become entangled. Due to the ease with which sutures pulled out of the skin,
the risk of entanglement is probably minimal. Cost of transmitters and
portable telemetry equipment would be moderate.








TECHNIQUES FOR MARKING RESTRAINED MANATEES

Several techniques have been investigated for marking manatees under
conditions where they can be captured and restrained. Transmitter
attachments include a floating package sutured to the skin at the base of the
head, an elastic peduncle strap (Irvine and Scott 1984), and a bolted
non-elastic peduncle strap (Bengtson 1981). The skin has been marked by
freezebranding (Irvine and Scott 1984), and a vinyl flag has been attached to
a bolted peduncle strap (Packard et al. 1983). These techniques are
described below and evaluated in terms of potential information gains (Table
4) and feasibility (Table 5). The cost and effort expended in capturing
manatees are not considered in this evaluation, although such considerations
would have to be included in use of these techniques.

Sutured Transmitter

Description.

Of several suture attachments applied in captivity, the most successful
technique was a single suture on the anterior and posterior edge of a plate
(Irvine and Scott 1984). Sutures were 3 cm deep and made of entwined nylon,
silk and steel. A simulated transmitter package (wooden float) was attached
by a short tether (20 cm) to a wood block (12 cm x 4 cm x 2 cm) sutured
posterior to the skull.

Transmitters were attached to padded stainless steel plates on two
manatees released from captivity. One transmitter was directly on the plate
and the other was attached by a 30 cm stainless steel tether. The plates
were attached by six shallow (1 cm deep) stainless steel sutures at the back
of the skull.
Potential Information Gain

Although the sutured transmitter package was retained for months in
captivity, it only lasted for 3-4 weeks on free-ranging manatees (Irvine and
Scott 1984). Retention time may have been influenced by depth of sutures;
the tags placed on released manatees were attached with shallower sutures
than the most successful tag tested in captivity. The floating transmitter
was visible and the radio signal was detected from 1 km. While transmitters
were functioning, location was reliable within 100 m. The number of codes
available for visual identification of manatees is limited by combinations of
colored tape on the transmitter, and the number of radio channels is limited
by the frequency range of the receiver and drift of each transmitter.

Feasibility
Application time and equipment are minimal, and suture wounds healed
after sutures pulled out (Irvine and Scott 1984). No behavioral disturbance
was observed, but there is some chance that the tethered transmitter could
become entangled. Due to the ease with which sutures pulled out of the skin,
the risk of entanglement is probably minimal. Cost of transmitters and
portable telemetry equipment would be moderate.









12




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Freezebrand

Description

Liquid nitrogen has been used as a coolant to apply freezebrands to the
back and sides of manatees (Irvine and Scott 1984). Optimal branding
duration has not been systematically evaluated, but large numbers (20 cm)
applied for 10-15 seconds and small brands (5 cm) applied for 5-9 seconds
were effective. Brands have also been applied for as long as 25 seconds.
The liquid nitrogen coolant is poured into an insulated container in which
the branding irons are placed (Scott, pers. commun.) Separate irons were
used for each digit.

Potential Information Gain

Marks have lasted for at least four years (Irvine and Scott 1984),
although the reliability of visual detection varies due to growth of
pigmented skin and organisms attached to the skin. Although freezebrands are
not visible from a plane, they are detectable at short distance and should be
photographed. Due to epidermal sloughing at corners, legibility of brands is
reduced if irons are applied too long or with too much pressure. The number
of potential codes is large, since three digits can be placed on the side of
a manatee.

Feasibility

Application of freezebrands takes less than a minute, although the
process of cooling branding irons may take several minutes (Scott, pers.
commun). The liquid nitrogen tank is large (30 1) but is portable in a boat.
Tissue trauma is about 5 mm deep, and the wound heals following epidermal
sloughing. The mark is not completely visible until several weeks after
branding. No behavioral disturbance or other risks have been reported.
Marks should be recorded by camera as they may change over time. Cost of
freezebranding equipment is moderate, but many marks can be applied once the
initial investment is made.

Elastic Peduncle Strap

Description

A tight-fitting, wide, elastic band (15.5 cm) was bolted to both ends of
a dummy transmitter on the peduncle of a captive manatee (Irvine and Scott
1984). Five straps with sonic transmitters attached were placed on manatees
captured and released in the Banana River.
Potential Information Gain

Although the elastic band tested in captivity was retained for four
weeks, three out of five bands slipped off captured manatees soon after they
were released and none lasted longer than four days (Irvine and Scott 1984).
The number of codes available would be similar as for any of the transmitter
attachments.









Freezebrand

Description

Liquid nitrogen has been used as a coolant to apply freezebrands to the
back and sides of manatees (Irvine and Scott 1984). Optimal branding
duration has not been systematically evaluated, but large numbers (20 cm)
applied for 10-15 seconds and small brands (5 cm) applied for 5-9 seconds
were effective. Brands have also been applied for as long as 25 seconds.
The liquid nitrogen coolant is poured into an insulated container in which
the branding irons are placed (Scott, pers. commun.) Separate irons were
used for each digit.

Potential Information Gain

Marks have lasted for at least four years (Irvine and Scott 1984),
although the reliability of visual detection varies due to growth of
pigmented skin and organisms attached to the skin. Although freezebrands are
not visible from a plane, they are detectable at short distance and should be
photographed. Due to epidermal sloughing at corners, legibility of brands is
reduced if irons are applied too long or with too much pressure. The number
of potential codes is large, since three digits can be placed on the side of
a manatee.

Feasibility

Application of freezebrands takes less than a minute, although the
process of cooling branding irons may take several minutes (Scott, pers.
commun). The liquid nitrogen tank is large (30 1) but is portable in a boat.
Tissue trauma is about 5 mm deep, and the wound heals following epidermal
sloughing. The mark is not completely visible until several weeks after
branding. No behavioral disturbance or other risks have been reported.
Marks should be recorded by camera as they may change over time. Cost of
freezebranding equipment is moderate, but many marks can be applied once the
initial investment is made.

Elastic Peduncle Strap

Description

A tight-fitting, wide, elastic band (15.5 cm) was bolted to both ends of
a dummy transmitter on the peduncle of a captive manatee (Irvine and Scott
1984). Five straps with sonic transmitters attached were placed on manatees
captured and released in the Banana River.
Potential Information Gain

Although the elastic band tested in captivity was retained for four
weeks, three out of five bands slipped off captured manatees soon after they
were released and none lasted longer than four days (Irvine and Scott 1984).
The number of codes available would be similar as for any of the transmitter
attachments.








Feasibility

Due to short retention times, use of the elastic strap on free-ranging
manatees is not feasible. The elastic strap is quickly applied with hand
tools. No tissue trauma, behavioral disturbance or other risks have been
reported. Cost of the strap is low, but cost of telemetry equipment would be
high. Durability in captivity was poor, due to breakage of the elastic after
four weeks (Irvine and Scott 1984).

Peduncle Transmitter Strap

Description

A peduncle strap of narrow, nylon-reinforced, rubber machine belting
(0.5 cm x 2 cm) inside latex rubber surgical tubing has been attached to
manatees by two steel nuts and brass bolts (Bengtson 1981). A series of
holes are cut in the ends of the belt prior to attachment. At the time of
capture, the peduncle girth is measured, the strap is cut to size and bolted
in place with about 2 cm between the strap and skin. The transmitter was
covered with colored vinyl tape. The surgical tubing was filled with
silicone. A metal stiffener on the upper side of the harness kept the
transmitter on the dorsal side of the manatee. The radio transmitter and
harness weighted approximately 800 grams, and transmission was in the 164 to
165 mHz frequency range.

Potential Information Gain

Use of the corrosible bolts assures that the strap will become detached
eventually, presumably within 12 months. Radios can be seen from a plane,
and the signal can be detected from several kilometers. Detection distance
from a boat is shorter. Transmitters vary in their reliability, but when
they are functioning, signal detection in freshwater is good. The number of
codes available would be similar as for any of the transmitter attachments.

Feasibility

Due to the need for custom fitting, bolted straps may take longer to
apply than other techniques. Application equipment is minimal and no tissue
trauma or behavioral disturbance has been observed. Although there is a
remote possibility that the strap may catch on a snag or other object,
healthy manatees are probably powerful enough to break loose. Cost of .the
telemetry equipment would be moderate. Durability.is good.

Peduncle Flag Strap

Description

Vinyl flags were attached to the peduncles of three manatees using the
same straps as the non-elastic transmitter attachment (Packard et al. 1983).
The flags were large ovals of colored vinyl (15 cm diameter) folded over the
strap and stitched around the perimeter and along the opening for the strap.
The flags were bolted in position on the strap, such that the flag rested on
the dorsal side.








Feasibility

Due to short retention times, use of the elastic strap on free-ranging
manatees is not feasible. The elastic strap is quickly applied with hand
tools. No tissue trauma, behavioral disturbance or other risks have been
reported. Cost of the strap is low, but cost of telemetry equipment would be
high. Durability in captivity was poor, due to breakage of the elastic after
four weeks (Irvine and Scott 1984).

Peduncle Transmitter Strap

Description

A peduncle strap of narrow, nylon-reinforced, rubber machine belting
(0.5 cm x 2 cm) inside latex rubber surgical tubing has been attached to
manatees by two steel nuts and brass bolts (Bengtson 1981). A series of
holes are cut in the ends of the belt prior to attachment. At the time of
capture, the peduncle girth is measured, the strap is cut to size and bolted
in place with about 2 cm between the strap and skin. The transmitter was
covered with colored vinyl tape. The surgical tubing was filled with
silicone. A metal stiffener on the upper side of the harness kept the
transmitter on the dorsal side of the manatee. The radio transmitter and
harness weighted approximately 800 grams, and transmission was in the 164 to
165 mHz frequency range.

Potential Information Gain

Use of the corrosible bolts assures that the strap will become detached
eventually, presumably within 12 months. Radios can be seen from a plane,
and the signal can be detected from several kilometers. Detection distance
from a boat is shorter. Transmitters vary in their reliability, but when
they are functioning, signal detection in freshwater is good. The number of
codes available would be similar as for any of the transmitter attachments.

Feasibility

Due to the need for custom fitting, bolted straps may take longer to
apply than other techniques. Application equipment is minimal and no tissue
trauma or behavioral disturbance has been observed. Although there is a
remote possibility that the strap may catch on a snag or other object,
healthy manatees are probably powerful enough to break loose. Cost of .the
telemetry equipment would be moderate. Durability.is good.

Peduncle Flag Strap

Description

Vinyl flags were attached to the peduncles of three manatees using the
same straps as the non-elastic transmitter attachment (Packard et al. 1983).
The flags were large ovals of colored vinyl (15 cm diameter) folded over the
strap and stitched around the perimeter and along the opening for the strap.
The flags were bolted in position on the strap, such that the flag rested on
the dorsal side.









Potential Information Gain

The flags were visible from an airplane; red and yellow were more easily
detected than blue (Packard et al. 1983). The number of codes is limited by
the number of distinctive colors, but two colors can be combined. Algal
growth obscured the color of flags attached to a platform, but not those
attached to manatees for three winter months in the St. Johns River (Summers,
pers. commun.). Flags remained intact for several months (O'Shea pers.
commun.); intervals between dates of application and last sighting were 1, 3
and 6 months. Two flags were torn off the straps and one rolled around the
belt. Two straps were detached by 9 and 11 months after application and one
was close to detaching at 16 months.

Feasibility

Two out of three flags were torn off the straps within one year after
application. However, they remained intact for three months. Cost would be
relatively low.

DESIGN CONCEPTS USEFUL FOR DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNIQUES

Concepts used in design of marking techniques for other species may aid
development of effective techniques of marking manatees. Potential design
concepts include a sutured soft plate, dermal tag, transponder capsule,
swivel spaghetti dart, coded shot, coded wire, bolted plate and livestock ear
tag. These ideas are described below and are evaluated in terms of potential
information gain (Table 6) and the needs for additional information.

Sutured Soft Plate

Description

A plastic pennant has been attached by sutures to the skin of fish
(Everhart and Youngs 1981). Because skin is pliable, attachment of a stiff
plate may retard healing of sutures. Stiff discs applied to the dorsal fins
of dolphins were subjected to hydrodynamic pressure apparently retarding
epidermal growth around the attaching bolts (White et al. 1981). A flexible
tag made of hypalon was tried on dolphins, but was not further evaluated due
to failure of the attachment mechanism. A flexible tag sutured to the head
of a manatee would be visible when the animal breathed. Attachment of a
floating transmitter might be attempted, but probably would create enough
drag to eventually pull sutures from the tissue.

Potential Information Gain

This design concept has not been applied to any marine mammal, to my
knowledge, hence its evaluation is speculative. The purpose would be to
improve retention time over stiff sutured plates. The color and the tag
symbols presumably could be detected when the animal surfaced to breath, so
should be reliably detectable from a boat. The number of codes would be
limited by the number of distinctive colors and visibility of symbols. If a
transmitter could be successfully attached, information gains would be
similar as for the sutured transmitter plate.









Potential Information Gain

The flags were visible from an airplane; red and yellow were more easily
detected than blue (Packard et al. 1983). The number of codes is limited by
the number of distinctive colors, but two colors can be combined. Algal
growth obscured the color of flags attached to a platform, but not those
attached to manatees for three winter months in the St. Johns River (Summers,
pers. commun.). Flags remained intact for several months (O'Shea pers.
commun.); intervals between dates of application and last sighting were 1, 3
and 6 months. Two flags were torn off the straps and one rolled around the
belt. Two straps were detached by 9 and 11 months after application and one
was close to detaching at 16 months.

Feasibility

Two out of three flags were torn off the straps within one year after
application. However, they remained intact for three months. Cost would be
relatively low.

DESIGN CONCEPTS USEFUL FOR DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNIQUES

Concepts used in design of marking techniques for other species may aid
development of effective techniques of marking manatees. Potential design
concepts include a sutured soft plate, dermal tag, transponder capsule,
swivel spaghetti dart, coded shot, coded wire, bolted plate and livestock ear
tag. These ideas are described below and are evaluated in terms of potential
information gain (Table 6) and the needs for additional information.

Sutured Soft Plate

Description

A plastic pennant has been attached by sutures to the skin of fish
(Everhart and Youngs 1981). Because skin is pliable, attachment of a stiff
plate may retard healing of sutures. Stiff discs applied to the dorsal fins
of dolphins were subjected to hydrodynamic pressure apparently retarding
epidermal growth around the attaching bolts (White et al. 1981). A flexible
tag made of hypalon was tried on dolphins, but was not further evaluated due
to failure of the attachment mechanism. A flexible tag sutured to the head
of a manatee would be visible when the animal breathed. Attachment of a
floating transmitter might be attempted, but probably would create enough
drag to eventually pull sutures from the tissue.

Potential Information Gain

This design concept has not been applied to any marine mammal, to my
knowledge, hence its evaluation is speculative. The purpose would be to
improve retention time over stiff sutured plates. The color and the tag
symbols presumably could be detected when the animal surfaced to breath, so
should be reliably detectable from a boat. The number of codes would be
limited by the number of distinctive colors and visibility of symbols. If a
transmitter could be successfully attached, information gains would be
similar as for the sutured transmitter plate.












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Information Needs

The movement of the tag relative to the skin of d manatee needs to be
examined. Movements of the manatee and hydrodynamics can influence the force
put on sutures attaching the plate to the head or neck region. Hydrodynamic
forces could be analyzed by attaching tags to part of a carcass in a water
flow chamber, as was done to analyze hydrodynamics of tags tested for
dolphins (White et al. 1981). The influence of manatee movements on tag
retention could be analyzed by underwater photography in captivity.
Durability of materials that could be used to construct the tag need to be
examined as well as reliability of detection.

Dermal Tag

Description

Designed for whales, dermal tags consist of wires pushed through a plate
("barnacle tag") or hollow stakes attached to a plate ("umbrella tag") (Hobbs
and Goebel 1982: Fig. 2, Mate et al. 1983). The wires are bent into hooks
that rest within or just below the dermal layer. A similar device is under
development for application to manatees (Mate, pers. commun.). The tag could
be designed to be large enough for attachment of a transmitter and streamer,
or it could be small enough to hold only a streamer attached by a swivel.
Applied with a jabstick containing a CO2 cartridge, the tag may be placed in
any location on the body where the skin layer is about 1.5 cm thick and
adjacent to a fat layer (primarily the mid-back region about 10 cm
postcranial).

Potential Information Gain

Theoretically, retention time should be good, if scar tissue grows
around the thin hooks and posts. Aspects of detection and coded information
would be same as for other telemetry systems.

Information Needs

The testing of prototype tags on manatee carcasses is currently in
progress (Mate, pers. commun.). Tissue response to the tag needs to be
examined in captivity. After tissue response to the tags is determined to be
suitable, the feasibility of application to unrestrained, free-ranging
manatees needs to be investigated.

Transponder Capsule

Description
The use of transponder chips to identify livestock is currently under
investigation by several companies (Johnson 1983). The transponder is a
passive device (an integrated chip) that receives a signal from an
interrogator device and returns the signal while energized. The distance of
detection can be increased by equipping the transponder with a small lithium
battery.








Information Needs

The movement of the tag relative to the skin of d manatee needs to be
examined. Movements of the manatee and hydrodynamics can influence the force
put on sutures attaching the plate to the head or neck region. Hydrodynamic
forces could be analyzed by attaching tags to part of a carcass in a water
flow chamber, as was done to analyze hydrodynamics of tags tested for
dolphins (White et al. 1981). The influence of manatee movements on tag
retention could be analyzed by underwater photography in captivity.
Durability of materials that could be used to construct the tag need to be
examined as well as reliability of detection.

Dermal Tag

Description

Designed for whales, dermal tags consist of wires pushed through a plate
("barnacle tag") or hollow stakes attached to a plate ("umbrella tag") (Hobbs
and Goebel 1982: Fig. 2, Mate et al. 1983). The wires are bent into hooks
that rest within or just below the dermal layer. A similar device is under
development for application to manatees (Mate, pers. commun.). The tag could
be designed to be large enough for attachment of a transmitter and streamer,
or it could be small enough to hold only a streamer attached by a swivel.
Applied with a jabstick containing a CO2 cartridge, the tag may be placed in
any location on the body where the skin layer is about 1.5 cm thick and
adjacent to a fat layer (primarily the mid-back region about 10 cm
postcranial).

Potential Information Gain

Theoretically, retention time should be good, if scar tissue grows
around the thin hooks and posts. Aspects of detection and coded information
would be same as for other telemetry systems.

Information Needs

The testing of prototype tags on manatee carcasses is currently in
progress (Mate, pers. commun.). Tissue response to the tag needs to be
examined in captivity. After tissue response to the tags is determined to be
suitable, the feasibility of application to unrestrained, free-ranging
manatees needs to be investigated.

Transponder Capsule

Description
The use of transponder chips to identify livestock is currently under
investigation by several companies (Johnson 1983). The transponder is a
passive device (an integrated chip) that receives a signal from an
interrogator device and returns the signal while energized. The distance of
detection can be increased by equipping the transponder with a small lithium
battery.








Transponders available on a neck chain worn by dairy cattle (Data Feed)
are designed to be interrogated when the cow stands at a feeding trough. An
experimental system was under development at the Los Alamos Scientific
Laboratory to utilize implanted transponders that could be interrogated at
remote stations on a ranch. The concept was to develop an application
technique using a large-guage hypodermic needle rather than surgical implant
procedures. A larger capsule (3/4" by 3") developed by Ideal Instruments can
be introduced into the reticulum of ruminants by means of a "balling gun"
used to give medication. A small flexible transponder (0.25 cm by 3 cm) has
been developed for subcutaneous implantation (Omnitronix). It can accurately
monitor temperature to within 0.1C and can be interrogated from 1.5 to 2.5
m. The interrogation distance can be increased up to 8 m by a special wiring
technique, and up to 100 m by increased power.

The concept of a transponder might be useful in identification of
manatees if the device could be attached to the head and interrogated
automatically when manatees approach a feeding station at a warm-water
refuge. To avoid behavioral disturbance, the food dispensed to individuals
should be limited automatically once the identification code is recorded
during a specified time interval.

Potential Information Gain

Because the transponder has no power requirements, it should last for
decades assuming a successful attachment/implant technique. Detection
distance depends on the type and power of the interrogator system, which can
operate remotely and send information to a data storage station. The number
of potential codes is estimated to be in the billions (Johnson 1983).
Information Needs

The detection range of existing transponder devices need to be tested in
aquatic environments occupied by manatees. If a detection range of 1 to 2 m
is feasible, then prototype equipment for tagging manatees and detecting
transponders in free-ranging manatees need to be developed. Potential
migration of the tag out of the application location should be examined.
Tagging and detection devices might be tested first, and electronics
developed (or modified from existing systems) at a later date.

Swivel Spaghetti Dart

Description

Retention of spaghetti tags on dolphins was improved by a swivel
attachment for the streamer (White et al. 1981). Theoretically, the swivel
reduces movement of the dart, reducing disturbance of regenerating epidermal
tissue. This concept might also improve healing and retention of spaghetti
tags applied to manatees.
Potential Information Gain

A spaghetti tag with a swivel head was retained in the skin of a dolphin
for at least one year (White et al. 1981). Aspects of detection and coded
information would be the same as for the unmodified spaghetti tag.









Information Needs

Swivel attachments for streamers could be tested in a water flow
chamber. It is not clear whether retention of spaghetti tags could be
improved by swivel attachments, or whether the major problem is the poor
penetration by the toggle-head of the dart. The swivel attachment could be
used on other tags such as the dermal tag. It needs to be designed to
minimize risk of entanglement and of injury to other manatees during social
interactions. Current models are not robust enough for tagging manatees.

Coded Shot

Description

Whales have been tagged by metal tubes (Discovery tag) shot into the
flesh and recovered from carcasses (Hobbs and Goebel 1982). Metal shot can
be coded by the composition of alloys or size, and detected in tissue by a
metal detector. Applied from a distance, shot possibly could be used to mark
large numbers of manatees and could be retrieved in the carcass salvage
program (Rathbun, pers. commun.).

Potential Information Gain

Presumably biologically compatible metals would remain in tissue
indefinitely. The tag could only be detected by a metal detector so would be
suitable for recovery from carcasses but not from live animals. The number
of potential alloys would probably be limited to less than ten.

Information Needs

Tissue response to spheres of various alloys and sizes needs to be
examined. Penetration depth of shot needs to be examined relative to
distance of application. Shot trajectory across the air/water interface
needs to be determined. Feasibility of shot detection in carcasses should be
tested.

Coded Wire

Description -

A small binary-coded piece of stainless steel wire has been used to mark
fish (Everhart and Youngs 1981, Johnson 1983) and sea turtles (Schwartz
1981). The wire is injected into the cartilage in the head of fish and
detected by X-ray equipment designed to fit live fish. Wire might be
injected into the tail of manatees and recovered in carcasses.

Potential Information Gain

Wire is retained well in the cartilage of fish, allowing for reliable
detection within inches by the appropriate instrument (Everhart and Youngs
1981). Thousands of distinct codes are possible with 14 binary digits, but
usually a whole roll of wire tags is made with the same code number. Thus,
coded information would probably be the location or year of tagging.









Information Needs

Swivel attachments for streamers could be tested in a water flow
chamber. It is not clear whether retention of spaghetti tags could be
improved by swivel attachments, or whether the major problem is the poor
penetration by the toggle-head of the dart. The swivel attachment could be
used on other tags such as the dermal tag. It needs to be designed to
minimize risk of entanglement and of injury to other manatees during social
interactions. Current models are not robust enough for tagging manatees.

Coded Shot

Description

Whales have been tagged by metal tubes (Discovery tag) shot into the
flesh and recovered from carcasses (Hobbs and Goebel 1982). Metal shot can
be coded by the composition of alloys or size, and detected in tissue by a
metal detector. Applied from a distance, shot possibly could be used to mark
large numbers of manatees and could be retrieved in the carcass salvage
program (Rathbun, pers. commun.).

Potential Information Gain

Presumably biologically compatible metals would remain in tissue
indefinitely. The tag could only be detected by a metal detector so would be
suitable for recovery from carcasses but not from live animals. The number
of potential alloys would probably be limited to less than ten.

Information Needs

Tissue response to spheres of various alloys and sizes needs to be
examined. Penetration depth of shot needs to be examined relative to
distance of application. Shot trajectory across the air/water interface
needs to be determined. Feasibility of shot detection in carcasses should be
tested.

Coded Wire

Description -

A small binary-coded piece of stainless steel wire has been used to mark
fish (Everhart and Youngs 1981, Johnson 1983) and sea turtles (Schwartz
1981). The wire is injected into the cartilage in the head of fish and
detected by X-ray equipment designed to fit live fish. Wire might be
injected into the tail of manatees and recovered in carcasses.

Potential Information Gain

Wire is retained well in the cartilage of fish, allowing for reliable
detection within inches by the appropriate instrument (Everhart and Youngs
1981). Thousands of distinct codes are possible with 14 binary digits, but
usually a whole roll of wire tags is made with the same code number. Thus,
coded information would probably be the location or year of tagging.








Information Needs

Feasibility of detecting wires in carcasses needs to be tested. Tissue
response to wires of different widths and lengths should be determined
relative to depth of implantation. If tissue response is suitable, an
application device mounted on a pole would need to be developed.

Bolted Tail Plate

Description

Several designs and materials have been used to attach a plate or pair
of plates to the dorsal fin of dolphins (White et al. 1981, Irvine et al.
1982). The most successful design appeared to be made of delrin and attached
by a stainless steel bolt through a teflon sleeve (White et al. 1981).
Materials tested for application to dolphins were not sufficiently durable to
withstand high flow rates. Possibly the slower movements of manatees may
exert less pressure on tags, although the peduncle exerts substantial
pressure when used for rapid propulsion. Black numerals (7.7 cm high) were
placed on tags bolted to dolphins (Irvine et al. 1982).

Potential Information Gain

Dolphins retained bolted plates for months, but some plates became
covered with algae and barnacles such that numbers were difficult to read
from a distance (Irvine et al. 1982). Information could be coded by color,
numbers and location of the tag. If placed on the outer end of the tail,
tags might be briefly visible when the manatee dives. Otherwise, ease of
detection would depend on water clarity. Reliability of detection is high
for dolphins, but symbols were often not visible from a distance.

Information Needs

Tissue response to a plate bolted on a manatee's tail needs to be
examined. Durability of materials could be tested in a water flow chamber.
Location of the plate on the tail might affect detection reliability and
retention time. Potential entanglement in weeds needs to be evaluated.

Post and Hole Tag

Description

Nylon livestock ear tags have been used successfully to mark large
numbers of pinnipeds (Hobbs and Russell 1979), and with moderate success to
tag dolphins (Norris and Pryor 1970, Irvine et al. 1981). The tags come in
two sections, one with a self-piercing pointed post that locks into a hole in
the other section. Roto tags are narrow rectangles with the post at one end,
and Allflex tags are rectangles attached by a post in the middle of the
longest side. Numbers printed on the tags are larger on Allflex tags (3
digits) than on Roto tags (up to 5 digits). A tag like the livestock tag
could be applied to the tail of manatees. Because the tail is thick, a hole
would have to be cut before application, and a special tag with a longer post
would probably need to be designed.








Information Needs

Feasibility of detecting wires in carcasses needs to be tested. Tissue
response to wires of different widths and lengths should be determined
relative to depth of implantation. If tissue response is suitable, an
application device mounted on a pole would need to be developed.

Bolted Tail Plate

Description

Several designs and materials have been used to attach a plate or pair
of plates to the dorsal fin of dolphins (White et al. 1981, Irvine et al.
1982). The most successful design appeared to be made of delrin and attached
by a stainless steel bolt through a teflon sleeve (White et al. 1981).
Materials tested for application to dolphins were not sufficiently durable to
withstand high flow rates. Possibly the slower movements of manatees may
exert less pressure on tags, although the peduncle exerts substantial
pressure when used for rapid propulsion. Black numerals (7.7 cm high) were
placed on tags bolted to dolphins (Irvine et al. 1982).

Potential Information Gain

Dolphins retained bolted plates for months, but some plates became
covered with algae and barnacles such that numbers were difficult to read
from a distance (Irvine et al. 1982). Information could be coded by color,
numbers and location of the tag. If placed on the outer end of the tail,
tags might be briefly visible when the manatee dives. Otherwise, ease of
detection would depend on water clarity. Reliability of detection is high
for dolphins, but symbols were often not visible from a distance.

Information Needs

Tissue response to a plate bolted on a manatee's tail needs to be
examined. Durability of materials could be tested in a water flow chamber.
Location of the plate on the tail might affect detection reliability and
retention time. Potential entanglement in weeds needs to be evaluated.

Post and Hole Tag

Description

Nylon livestock ear tags have been used successfully to mark large
numbers of pinnipeds (Hobbs and Russell 1979), and with moderate success to
tag dolphins (Norris and Pryor 1970, Irvine et al. 1981). The tags come in
two sections, one with a self-piercing pointed post that locks into a hole in
the other section. Roto tags are narrow rectangles with the post at one end,
and Allflex tags are rectangles attached by a post in the middle of the
longest side. Numbers printed on the tags are larger on Allflex tags (3
digits) than on Roto tags (up to 5 digits). A tag like the livestock tag
could be applied to the tail of manatees. Because the tail is thick, a hole
would have to be cut before application, and a special tag with a longer post
would probably need to be designed.









Potential Information Gain

Livestock tags remain on pinnipeds for years when animals are tagged as
adults (Hobbs and Russell 1979), but many tags attached to dolphins lasted
for only days or weeks (Irvine et al. 1981). These tags migrated out of the
rear edge of the dorsal fin, leaving notches that subsequently have been used
for identification over a period of at least eight years (M. Scott, pers.
commun.). Detection and coded information would be similar as for the bolted
plate.

Information Needs

Tissue response to livestock ear tags could be tested on young manatees
with tails thin enough to allow attachment of the tag. If suitable, a larger
prototype could be developed and tested on adult manatees. Potential
entanglement in weeds needs to be evaluated.

DISCUSSION

The feasibility of capturing or approaching free-ranging manatees
presents serious limitations to marking large numbers of the animals.
Capture techniques have been developed only for restricted waterways such as
Blue Springs (Bengtson 1981) and the Banana River (Irvine and Scott 1984).
Where manatees cannot be captured, it is sometimes possible to approach tame
individuals to mark them. However, considerable effort is required to mark
free-ranging manatees, and the sample of individuals is likely to be biased
by their habituation to people.
The suitability of techniques for marking manatees depends on the type
of information desired as well as field logistics in study sites. Therefore,
it is not appropriate to rank existing techniques with regard to overall
suitability. Rather, the appropriate match between available options and
research design needs to be considered.

Under conditions where it is not feasible or desirable to capture
manatees to apply tags, available options include use of natural marks,
aerosol paint, paintstiks, spaghetti tags, transmitter darts, tail notches or
a peduncle strap. Four of these techniques (aerosol paint, paintstiks,
spaghetti tags and transmitter darts) provide marks of short duration. The
peduncle strap with an attached transmitter provides the most reliable
information, but attachment depends on habituation of manatees to swimmers.
The floating transmitter attached to the peduncle strap is currently being
investigated and results are encouraging. High costs of telemetry usually
limit the number of transmitter tags that can be deployed. When peduncle
straps are designed to detach due to a corrosible link, no permanent mark is
left on the manatee. Natural marks and tail notches can be used to identify
individuals over several years, but the technique is labor intensive and
reliability of detection depends on many variables.
Under conditions where capture of manatees is feasible, techniques that
have been tested include transmitters attached to a plate sutured behind the
head, freezebranding, and a transmitter or flag bolted to a peduncle strap.
Retention and durability of the elastic peduncle strap is too low to merit








further consideration as a feasible technique. The non-elastic peduncle
strap has been successfully used for long-term studies (9 to 10 months or
less) with little or no risk to the manatees. Durability of the vinyl flag
attached to a peduncle strap is short, but the tag provides a low-cost way of
identifying manatees over several months. The sutured transmitter attachment
has a short retention time. Freezebrands can last for at least a year, but
the problems of detection are similar to those of natural marks.

Design concepts considered potentially useful for developing new manatee
marking techniques include sutured soft plates, dermal tags, transponder
capsules, swivel spaghetti darts, coded shot and wire, bolted plates or
modified livestock ear tags. Tissue response needs to be investigated for
each of these potential techniques. Of the externally visible tags that
would not require capture for application, the dermal tag appears most
promising at this time. The transponder capsule and coded wire or shot would
not be externally visible. If feasible, the transponder capsule could
provide data on movements, individual activity, attendance at warm water
refuges, and survival. However, development of a transponder system for
manatees would require a large commitment of resources and time. Relatively
low technology options such as the sutured soft plate, bolted plate, and
livestock ear tag design could be considered for long-term marking of
captured manatees.

CONCLUSIONS

1. A variety of techniques have been tested for identifying restrained and
free-ranging manatees. For long-term (12 months) identification of
individuals, natural marks, tail notches, and freezebrands are viable
options. However, reliability of detection is dependent on labor
intensive techniques and commitment to a long-term study. The peduncle
strap has been used successfully to attach encased transmitters,
floating transmitters and color-coded flags. Options for short-term
marks include paintstiks, spaghetti tags, and sutured transmitters.

2. Several design concepts that have been tested or suggested for other
species might be considered for development of new manatee marking
techniques. If feasible, the dermal tag would provide an option for
attaching telemetry devices and visual tags to free-ranging manatees.
The transponder concept might provide options for automatic data
recording, but a large commitment of effort and resources would be
required for its development. Visual tags such as a sutured soft plate,
swivel spaghetti tag, bolted plate and livestock ear tag could be useful
for mark-resight studies. Coded shot or wire could conceivably be
recovered in carcasses.

3. Additional information is needed to evaluate the feasibility of several
design concepts for marking manatees. Tissue responses to imbedded
hooks, posts, wire, spheres and bolts in the tail need to be examined.
Application feasibility needs to be tested on a carcass for shot, coded
wire, transponder capsule, and livestock ear tag. Feasibility of
detection needs to be tested for transponders and coded shot and wire.
Durability of a sutured soft plate, bolted plate, and swivel streamer
needs to be examined.





24


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Financial support for this study was from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service under Cooperative Agreement No. 14-16-0009-1544, Research Work Order
No. 2, with the Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
Administrative support was provided by the School of Forest Resources and
Conservation, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of
Florida. I am grateful to D. A. Stinson for typing the manuscript, and to
colleagues who provided information. E. Possardt, G. Rathbun and M. Scott
reviewed earlier drafts of the manuscript.









LITERATURE CITED


Bengtson, J. L. 1981. Ecology of manatees (Trichechus manatus) in the St.
Johns River, Florida. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Minnesota.
Microfiche. 126pp.


Eberhardt, L. L. 1982. Censusing manatees.
Report No. 1. Tech. Rep. No. 8-1. Fl.
Univ. of Fl., Gainesville, Fl. 18pp.


Manatee Population Research
Coop. Fish and Wildl. Res. Unit.


Evans, W. E., J. D. Hall, A. B. Irvine, and J. S. Leatherwood. 1972.
Methods for tagging small cetaceans. Fish. Bull. 70:61-65.

Everhart, W. H., and W. D. Youngs. 1981. Principles of Fishery Science.
2nd Edition. Cornell Univ. Press. Ithaca, N.Y. 349pp.

Hartman, D. S. 1979. Ecology and behavior of the manatee, Trichechus
manatus, in Florida. Spec. Publ. No. 5. Amer. Soc. Mammal. 5:1-153.


Hobbs, L. J. and M. E. Goebel. 1982. B
feasibility study and review of lar
Memorandum NMFS F/NWC-21. U.S. Dep

Hobbs, L. and P. Russell. (eds.) 1979.
tagging workshop. 18-19 Jan. 1979.
Arlington, Va. 48pp.


owhead whale radio tagging
ge cetacean tagging. NOAA Technical
t. Comm. 68pp.

Report on the pinniped and sea otter
Seattle, Wa. Am. Inst. Biol. Serv.


Irvine, A. B. and M. D. Scott. 1984. Development and use of marking
techniques to study manatees in Florida. Fla. Sci. 47:12-26.


Irvine, A. B., R. S. Wells, and M. D. Scott.
techniques for tagging small odontocete
80:135-143.


1982. An evaluation of
cetaceans. Fish. Bull.


Johnson, C. 1983. Electronic animal identification.
the Tanner's Council of America, Washington, D.C.


Report prepared for
26pp.


Kinnaird, M. F. and J. Valade. 1983. Manatee use of two power plant
effluents on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida. Site
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Gainesville, Fl. 63pp.


Tech.


Mate, B. R., J. T. Harvey, L. Hobbs; and R. Maiefski. 1983. New attachment
device for radio-tagging large whales. J. Wildl. Manage. 47(3):868-872.

Moore, J. C. 1956. Observations of manatees in aggregations. Amer. Mus.
Novit. 1811:1-24.

Norris, K. and K. Pryor. 1970. A tagging method for small cetaceans. J.
Mammal. 51:609-610.









Packard, J. M. 1981. Abundance, distribution, and feeding habits of
manatees (Trichechus manatus) wintering between St. Lucie and Palm Beach
inlets, Florida. Final report prepared for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. Contract 14-16-0004-80-105. 142pp.

Packard, J. M., R. Summers, and L. Barnes. 1983. Correction factors for
observability of manatees during aerial surveys. Manatee Population
Research Report No. 3. Tech. Rep. No. 8-3. Fl. Coop. Fish and Wildl.
Res. Unit, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fl. 10pp.

Powell, J. A. 1981. The manatee population in Crystal River, Citrus County,
Florida. In: R. L. Brownell, Jr. and K. Rails (eds.). The West Indian
Manatee in Florida. Proceedings of a Workshop held in Orlando, Florida,
27-29 March 1978. Fl. Dept. Nat. Res., Tallahassee, Fl. pp. 33-40.

Powell, J. A. and G. B. Rathbun. 1984. Distribution and abundance of
manatees along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Northeast Gulf
Sci. in press.

Powell, J. A. and J. C. Waldron. 1981. The manatee population in Blue
Spring, Volusia County, Florida. In: R. L. Brownell, Jr. and K. Rails
(eds.). The West Indian Manatee in Florida. Proceedings of a Workshop
held in Orlando, Florida, 27-29 March 1978. Fl. Dept. Nat. Res.,
Tallahassee, Fl. pp. 41-51.

Rathbun, G. B., J. A. Powell, and J. P. Reid. 1983. Movements of manatees
(Trichechus manatus) using power plant effluents in southern Florida.
Prepared for the Florida Power and Light Co. under FPL Purchase Order
No. 88798-87154. Sirenia Project, Gainesville, FL 32601.

Reynolds, J. E., III. 1977. Aspects of the social behavior and ecology of a
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Gulf Sci. 5:87-93.

Shane, S. H. 1981. Abundance, distribution and use of power plant effluents
by manatee (Trichechus manatus) in Brevard County, Florida. Final Rep.
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27


Personal Communications

Bruce R. Mate, Science Center, Oregon State University, Newport, Oregon.

Thomas J. O'Shea, Sirenia Project, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Gainesville, Florida.

Galen B. Rathbun, Sirenia Project, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Gainesville, Florida.

Michael D. Scott, Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, c/o Scripps
Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, California.

Robert Summers, Gainesville, Florida.









Appendix A. Sources and Costs of Materialsa


Materials Costs($) Specifications Source


Aerosol paint


Paintstik


Spaghetti tag


Sonic
transmitter

receiver/
hydrophone
transmitter


receiver
hydrophone

Notching tool


Peduncle strap

Radio
tethered
transmitter

transmitter

receiver/
antenna

Suture
materials

Freezebranding
iron

Elastic strap


8/dozen All weather
animal marker


470/thous.
plus .0025
per letter
per tag


475


4,995

163

358
1,375
810

18


Model FH-69


Model
15 cm
30-45


3035
x 10
KHz


cm x 5 cm


Model N30 A5B


Model SR-74A
65-75 KHz, 90 day
14 mm dia. x 6.1 cm
30-KHz turtle tag
Model TA-25
Model SR-74H


C23N


Lenmar, Inc., Baltimore, MD

Lake Chemical Co., Chicago, IL
'(312/826-1700)

Floy Tag Corp., Seattle, WA
(206/524-2700)


Dukane Corp., St. Charles, IL
(312/584-2300)
Gregory Schmeisser


Smith Root, Inc., Vancouver, WA
(206/573-0202)


Nasco, Inc., 901
Ft. Atkinson, WI
(800/558-9595)


Janesville Ave.
53538


(about 30)


164 MHz
10 cm x 2.5 cm dia
Yagi null-peak

Vetafil Bengen
Chromic C


Denver Wildlife Research Lab,
Larry Kolz (303/236-4413)

Cedar Creek Bioelectronics Lab,
Bethel, MN. Larry Kuechle
(612/434-7361)


S. Jackson, Inc., Washington, DC
Ethicon, Inc., Summerville, NJ


Hawkeye Castings, Inc.,
Manchester, IU
(319/927-2950)


Solace Enterprises, Anchorage, AK









Apppendix A, continued.

Materials Costs($) Specifications Source


Vinyl flag

Umbrella tag

Transponder
capsules


prototype

prototype


Bruce Mate, Oregon State Univ.,
Newport, OR (503/867-3011)


prototype 0.01 in x 1.25 in


Omnitronix, Norton, OH
William R. Holland
(206/848-4192)


3/4 m x 3 in
receiver
interrogator
computer processing


tags
computer
feeders
wiring


processor


Ideal Instruments,
401 N. Western Ave.,
Chicago, IL 60612

Los Alamos Sci. Lab., Las Cruces,
NM. Dean Anderson (505/646-4842)

Data Feed, Billings, MO
Wayne Ostler (406/245-6231)


Coded shot

Coded wire


Livestock
tags


undetermined


112 per
*2,000


12 per 25


Rototags
(Jumbo)

Allflex tags


Northwest Marine Technology, Inc.
Shaw Is., WA 98286
Richard Fralick (206/468-2340)

Guardsman Chemicals, Inc.
13535 Monster Road
South Seattle, WA 98178
(206) 772-6550

Nasco, Inc., Ft. Atkinson, WI
and Guelph, ON (519/836-3330)
Dalton Supplies, Ltd.
Nettlebed, Henley-on-Thames
Oxfordshire, England


Bolted plate


prototype


Scientific Plastics, Inc.


aMention of commercial products does not imply endorsement by any of the agencies
involved with this study. Information is from Hobbs and Russell (1979), Irvine
and Scott (1984), Johnson (1983), White et al. (1981) and personal communication
with the listed persons.


10 ea
300
32 ea
400
5 ea

33 ea
4,500
20 ea
200




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