01 April 2011

Mandai mangrove madness: critters

While I was primarily looking at plants in Mandai mangroves, I did also see many animals. The enormous number of egrets and herons feeding on the mudflats at the mouth of Sungei Mandai Besar is hard to miss.
Indeed, the mudflats and mangroves of Mandai and Kranji all the way to Sungei Buloh are feeding grounds for all kinds of shorebirds.

The egrets hung out not only on the Mandai mudflats, but also along the Kranji mudflats on the horizon (see tiny blurry white dots in this photo, sorry lah, I blame the lame lens).
I saw a bunch of Whimbrels feeding on the Mandai mudflats. The bars are poles in the ground.
Here's 'closer' look at the Whimbrels. The best shot my feeble lens could take. I also saw several raptors and some other kinds of birds. I'm not too good with bird ID.
The most intriguing creature I saw was this little pale crustacean.
At first I thought it was a moult, but then it moved! It was about 6cm long. I'm not sure if it's some kind of Ghost shrimp or a young Mud lobster (Thalassina sp.).
I saw several large and small Mangrove horseshoe crabs (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda). I didn't see any in pairs, but then again, I wasn't looking for them. I basically came across these animals as I was watching my step to avoid stomping on animals or plants.
Even I couldn't miss the large colourful crabs that are commonly seen in our mangroves. Like this pretty Face-banded crab (Perisesarma sp.).
Of course I can't resist the pretty mangrove nerites. Well, they're nice on the underside. This one is the Black-mouthed nerite (Dostia cornucopia).
And the bright Red-mouth nerite (Dostia violacea).
On a sandy stretch I saw a lot of these little slugs. Some kind of Onch slug (Family Onchidiidae)?
Looking at a vine, I saw this cluster of ants starting to form a nest. There is a pair of winged ants, and lots of worker ants with big fat white larvae!
While taking close ups of tree leaves, I accidentally shot a cluster of Mangrove shield bugs (Calliphara nobilis).
This is the only butterfly I managed to shoot. It was resting under a leaf of a mangrove tree. Looking through Khew's awesome Field Guide to the Butterflies of Singapore, I'm guessing it's some kind of Sailor.
On several days, I saw some dogs playing in the mangroves. When they wandered nearby, they growled at me but didn't come closer and soon left. I also glimpsed one Long-tailed macaque (Maca fascicularis) which disappeared into the trees before I could take a photo of it.
There were lots and lots of other animals large and small. From fishies in the puddles and streams, crabs that scuttled away and all kinds of spiders and insects. There's so much to discover about our mangroves!

I saw this shelter set up in the mangroves.
There was another shelter tucked in the back mangroves. Over the four weekdays that I visited, I didn't see another soul in the mangroves. Although there were well trodden paths from the shelter all over the mangroves. Perhaps fishermen only come here on the weekends?
Alas, I saw a few horseshoe crabs dead and entangled in abandoned fishing nets in the mangroves.
Another reason to return to Mandai with more people. To remove the abandoned driftnets. Sigh.

2 comments:

  1. That's a Short Banded Sailor that you shot, Ria. This species can usually be found in mangrove areas due to the existence of one of its host plants, the Sea Hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus) in mangrove and back-mangrove habitats.

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  2. Thanks for the ID! I couldn't figure out the Sailors, those naughtical beasties :-) Wow, Sea hibiscus and Sailors, so appropriately named!

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