- Associated Press - Saturday, April 6, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Invasive fish are sucking on Florida’s manatees.

Wildlife biologists are increasingly concerned about the presence of sailfin suckermouth catfish in Florida’s freshwaters.

While the catfish only nibble on algae growing on the manatees, not their flesh or blood, they still present a threat.

Biologists say manatees seek winter refuge in warmer springs instead of colder rivers. But there’s not much food in the springs. By staying still and conserving energy, they can stay in the springs longer before they need to go out and forage in the rivers.

The Orlando Sentinel reports manatees burn calories when they twitch around to shake off the catfish, making them then prone to cold stress.

The sailfin suckermouth catfish first appeared in Florida waters in the 1950s.

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Information from: Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com/

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