The University of Queensland Homepage
Welcome to the Marine Vertebrate Ecology Research Group website You are at the Marine Vertebrate Ecology Research Group website


 Dugongs


More Information
Dugong Biology
Dugong Distribution, Abundance, and Status
Dugongs in Southern Queensland
Moreton Bay Dugongs
Tagging and Sampling Wild Dugongs
Health Assessment of Wild Dugongs
UQ Dugong Team

Dugongs (Dugong dugon) are large long-lived (about 70 y) marine mammals. An adult dugong weighs up to 600 kg and measures up to 3 metres in length. The closest living relatives to dugongs are the three species of manatee: West Indian manatee Manatus latirostris, the Amazonian manatee Trichechus inunguis and the West African manatee Trichechus senegalensis. Dugongs are also distantly related to elephants and hyraxes.

Dugongs are streamlined, fast over short distances and are superbly adapted for a fully marine pelagic lifestyle. Their dolphin-like tail flukes provide propulsion whilst their front flippers help them to steer. Female dugongs feed their calves from nipples located under their front flippers. There is no obvious sexual dimorphism in terms of body size and shape, however the sexes can be determined by looking at the distance between the genital and anal slits: in females these are almost contiguous, whilst in males these are further apart. Adult males and very old female dugongs have large emergent tusks.

For more details regarding dugongs and our research, see

Dugong Biology
Dugong Distribution, Abundance, and Status
Dugongs in Southern Queensland
Moreton Bay Dugongs
Tagging and Sampling Wild Dugongs
Health Assessment of Wild Dugongs