What Color is the Sky in Your World?
Q. Are manatees color blind?
--Loriann Shelton, North Carolina
A. Manatees have dichromatic color vision similar to that of sea lions. They are able to see the colors blue, green, and gray, but not red. Manatees are nearsighted, with visual acuity comparable to that of a cow and significantly less than that of humans, dogs, or bottlenose dolphins. They are, however, able to discriminate between different levels of brightness. Their level of vision suits them quite well in identifying plants to eat among the often dark waters they inhabit. Manatees will visually inspect objects up close by examining them with one eye and then the other. If they are still curious, they will resort to more tactile investigation, such as touching the object with the vibrissae on their snout.
--Artie Wong, Staff Biologist, Save the Manatee Club
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