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State Marine Mammal The manatee became the state marine mammal in 1975. The manatee, which is also known as the sea cow, big beaver, mermaid or "furnished with hands" is a gray, waterplant-eating, marine mammal that can often weigh a ton or more. The manatee is on the endangered species list, but chances for its survival are good if we as citizens of this state take steps to ensure its safety.

State Saltwater Fish The 1975 Legislature named the sailfish as Florida's state saltwater fish. Sailfish are dark blue on top and brown-blue on the sides with a silvery white underbelly and many black spots. Its upper jaw is elongated in the form of a spear and the first dorsal fin is in the shape of a large sail. The sailfish is a rapidly growing species, reaching up to 7 feet long and 116 pounds. Sailfish are found offshore in south Florida near the gulfstream and off the panhandle. They feed on smaller fishes and squid at the surface or at mid-depths.

State Freshwater Fish In 1975, the Legislature named the Florida largemouth bass, the largest member of the sunfish family, as the official state freshwater fish. It usually has light green to brown sides with a dark line down the side. The upper jaw of the largemouth bass extends beyond the rear edge of the eye. It prefers clear, nonflowing water and aquatic vegetation which provides food and cover. Largemouth bass are found in rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds and estuaries, usually at depths of 20 feet or less. The largemouth bass is Florida's most popular freshwater game fish.

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