Fresh traces suggesting that dugong ate seaweed further out in Oura Bay

Fresh traces suggesting that dugong ate seaweed further out in Oura Bay

Missing parts of seaweed indicates the trail eaten by a dugong, on June 5, off the coast of Sedake, Nago City (Photograph provided by The Snufkin).

June 7, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

The diving team Snack Snufkin has found traces of dugong eating seaweed underwater about 600 meters off the coast south of Sedake, Nago City.

Nobu Nishihara, a representative of the team that carried out the biological survey in Oura Bay, said, “This sort of thing has often been observed off the coast of Henoko and Abe at the mouth of the Oura Bay, but it might be the first time that such traces of seaweed eaten by dugong have been found further out in the bay.”

They found marks in water about five meters deep off the coast of Nodake, where the dugongs’ favorite snack, umihirumo seaweed, grows. This is an area in which seaweed is not as plentiful as off the shore of Abe or other places. The trail left by dugong grazing on the seaweed was about 10 meters long, and it is clear from those marks that the dugong ate there between June 4 and 5.

“We wonder how they could find feeding sites deeper out in the bay. This is important in terms of understanding how dugongs live, which is not something we know much about. But, it is also testimony to the abundance of nature in Oura Bay,” said Nishihira.
The Snufkin team will carry out further investigation on June 9.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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