Lucille is part of the largest family tree ever documented at Blue Spring State Park
Every family has a family tree, and manatees are no exception. Lucille, who winters at Blue Spring State Park, is part of the largest manatee family tree ever documented at the park. Like several other animal species, manatees have a matriarchal society, which means that the family tree is traced through the female. When manatees mate, they do not form permanent pair bonds and males assume no responsibility for raising the calf. Lucille was born on August 10, 1980, to Luna, another Blue Spring manatee. At the time of Lucille’s birth, manatee researchers were tracking Luna. They were able to record several distinct vocalizations made by Lucille and Luna and identify a “distress call” from a manatee calf to her mother when the two had become separated. This research provided other insights into the interactions between a mother and her calf and helped advance knowledge of manatee behavior.
Lucille has returned to Blue Spring for the winter every year since her birth. She is easily identified by her scarred right flipper—the result of monofilament fishing line entanglement. She had to be rescued for this entanglement and the line was removed, but she eventually lost the lower half of the flipper. Her scar is a reminder that monofilament line can be dangerous to manatees and other wildlife. They can accidentally ingest it or die from infection caused by entanglement in fishing line or hooks. She has had several calves, including ones named Luke, Liege, Loopy, and Peek-A-Boo. On July 8, 2017, Lucille came in to Blue Spring State Park with a very small calf. Mom and calf came back to Blue Spring for the winter season and made several visits from October through March. She made her first visit of the 2018–2019 manatee season on November 11, 2018 and was captured on video by Save the Manatee Club’s manatee webcams. Lucille was on her own, which means the calf had likely been weaned. This is normal as manatee moms usually nurse their young for one to two years.
During manatee season, check our Blue Spring webcams for updates on the latest news on Lucille and other Blue Spring manatees.