23 February 2011

Sliver of mangroves near Punggol Jetty

Near Punggol Jetty, there is a tiny patch of mangroves along a narrow stream that is still connected to the coastline some distance away.
I've been hearing about a tiny patch of mangroves at Punggol from friends at Outward Bound Singapore and other people I've met. Siyang also shared about this mangrove on his trip in Sep 09.Today, I managed to have a quick look at it.

I was thrilled to see mud lobster mounds! Areas with mud lobster mounds are becoming increasingly rare in Singapore.
The mud lobsters are still active here! There were many openings with fresh 'flows' of mud.
Mud lobsters (Thalassina sp.) are listed as Endangered in Singapore. They play an important role in the health of mangroves, creating mounds that provide homes for other mangrove animals, and a nice place for mangrove plants to grow, such as this thicket of Jeruju (Acanthus sp.).
A small Bakau putih (Bruguiera cylindrica) next to a mud lobster mound.
There are two huge figs in the mangroves! This one is right in the mud lobster mound area.
Here is the other large fig tree, right at the edge of the mangrove.
The short stretch of mangroves is quite lush, with many different kinds of common mangrove trees. And scrambling in the canopy, what looks like the yellow blossomed Maiden's jealousy (Tristellateia australasiae).
Maiden's jealousy is commonly grown in our parks and gardens, but in the wild it also grows in mangroves. How nice to see it here in a mangrove!
Among the common mangrove trees I saw were many Api-api putih (Avicennia alba), some Api-api ludat (Avicennia officinalis) and Bakau putih (Bruguiera cylindrica), a small Perepat (Sonneratia alba) and some Bakau minyak (Rhizophora apiculata). There was also a nice patch of flowering Jeruju (Acanthus sp.).
There were also thickets of Sea hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus) and scrambling on the mangrove edges, some Wild jasmine (Clerodendron inerme).
There were also a few clumps of Piai raya (Acrostichum aureum).
The mangrove is very narrow and rather short. Non-mangrove vegetation grows thickly along the upper reaches of brackish water, with large trees and dense undergrowth.
I saw a lot of colourful fishes in the drains leading to the mangroves, but they were too fast for sneaky cam to photograph. To me, they looked like guppies. There were also Giant mudskippers (Periophthalmodon schlosseri) as well as tiny mudskippers. Tree-climbing crabs (Episesarma sp.) scuttled about in the drain!
I saw a bunch of Mangrove helmet snails (Cassidula sp.).
I also saw some Belongkeng snails (Ellobium sp.).
I'm quite surprised to see this lively little mangrove. It is possibly a remnant of what must have been more extensive mangroves on the mainland.
The tiny patch of mangroves (yellow circle)
is divided by the old Punggol Road.
Unfortunately, my trip was short and the tide was high. I shall try to come back again for a closer look.

2 comments:

  1. << I was thrilled to see mud lobster mounds! >>

    Ah, I also associate mud lobster mounds with exclamation marks ! :) Esp. when they pop up at somewhat incongruous places -- eg. on the cowgrass verge beside the pavement along Clementi West St. 2, lying in between a tidal concrete canal & a 4-lane tarmac road, & surrounded by high-rise flats. I also recall seeing such mounds located much further inland along the same canal beside Clementi Woods. As new mounds appear & disappear (being so conspicuous, they tend to be disturbed by curious/ignorant humans), I imagine a huge underground city of hardworking mud lobsters hanging on tenaciously to what must have been their back-mangrove territory in the not-so-distant past.

    In contrast, I have never seen any mud lobster mounds located before the Sungei Pandan dam, even though this site was mangrove land before its reclamation in the 1970s.

    << Areas with mud lobster mounds are becoming increasingly rare in Singapore. >>

    Do badly-fragmented/degraded mangrove remnants tend to support more mud lobsters ? For instance, besides the Punggol Mangrove you mentioned, mud lobster mounds are also relatively easy to spot at Pandan Mangrove & West Coast Marsh. Or maybe the mounds merely become more conspicuous because the mangroves are so fragmented.

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  2. Wow Pat, thanks for sharing about the mysterious mounds! Those are good questions! There's so much more to learn about our mangroves!

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