Photo copyright Suzanne Challoner.
Taken at Abu Dabab, Egyptian Red Sea.
Also known as a sea cow, Dugongs feed in the seagrass beds of the Indo-Pacific. They are the only herbivorous, truly marine mammal. (The related manatee spends some of its life in fresh water.)
Being a slow swimmer, you'll find dugongs in sheltered lagoons and bays in warm water such as are found in the Red Sea (eg Marsa Alam), East Africa, the Philippines, and Australia.
Adult dugongs can grow to over 3.5 m (11 ft), and may weigh over 900 kg (2000 lb). Male dugongs begin to grow tusks between the ages of 12 and 15 years. If food is plentiful, the habitat protected, and predation low, dugongs may live more than 70 years.
More pictures of Dugongs are in the Red Sea rooms of our photo gallery.
The Blue Planet, by Alastair Fothergill, Martha Holmes, Sir David Attenborough, BBC Consumer Publishing, 2001, ISBN 056-33-8498-0
The Underwater Photographer: Digital and Traditional Techniques, by by Martin Edge, Paperback, 536 pages (2009)