22 August 2011

Fascinating fishes of Admiralty mangroves

Mangrove streams can have some interesting fishes, if we take a closer look. Some of them are quite pretty.
I also came across some damselflies and dragonflies and interesting plants in the tiny mangrove at Admiralty Park.

This pretty fish is the aptly named Whitespot (Aplocheilus panchax) with a white spot on the top of its head. Some of them had colourful fins.
There were also many short and fat halfbeaks.
Clustered in holes and hiding places were rather large Grey knight gobies (Stigmatogobius sadanundio). Some of them had colourful patterns on the dorsal fins!
There was a cluster of several of these cute and colourful Mangrove bumblebee gobies (Brachygobius kabiliensis).
While the other fishes swam frantically around when I approached, these little gobies remained motionless on the stream bottom. I'm not too sure what they are.
Mystery fish no. 1
Mystery fish no. 2
Mystery fish no. 3
Mangrove streams are a rare haven for some special damselflies and dragonflies. I'm not really sure what kind of damselfly this is. It's very small and rather drab. There were a few of them flying about and resting on twigs and trees near the stream.
Mystery damselfly no. 1
Here's another dull looking damselfly that was flying near the stream.
Mystery damselfly no. 2
Afterword: Tang Hung Bun kindly identified these two mystery damselflies as Mortonagrion arthuri which is a rare species, possibly confined to mangrove habitats. Damselfly no. 1 is pale because it just emerged! Thanks Tang!

I saw this small dragonfly too. I'm making a wild guess that it's the Mangrove Dwarf (Raphismia bispina) which according to Tang Hung Bun's amazing Guide to the Dragonflies of Singapore is one of the few dragonflies that lives and breeds in saline water in mangroves. I'm sure some kind person will correct me if I'm wrong. (Tang confirms this ID is correct, thank you!)
Check out Tang's awesome Dragonflies and Damselflies of Singapore website for more photos!

The mangrove stream is rather shallow and winds through some dense vegetation. The abundant life in and about the stream shows that the water quality is good.
Sloshing among mangrove roots.
The stream winds through very soft mud before reaching a large pool full of Giant mudskippers (Periophthalmodon schlosseri).
There are lots and lots of tiny fishes in the stream. I'm not sure if all of them stay small. Perhaps some of them are juveniles of larger fishes that move out into deeper water when they grow up? Many marine creatures are found in different ecosystems at different times of their lifecycle. Which is why it is important to conserve all our coastal habitats!
This Park has a very tall Ipil (Intsia bijuga). Today I noticed a smaller one next to it! It seemed healthy although it's branches were quite entangled in a rattan growing nearby.
Here's a closer look at the leaves of this Critically Endangered tree. Hopefully, when I next visit, I can see it blooming!
This mangrove has lots and lots of Wax plants (Hoya sp.). Today, the Critically Endangered Hoya diversifolia were in bloom!
There's lots more to see at the Park, but I couldn't stay very long today. The passionate NParks staff who manage this Park run regular activities and walks. You can also volunteer with the Park. More about Admiralty Park on the NParks website.


  1. HI! can i use your picture on the whitespot for my project?

  2. Could you email me with more details about your project and which photo you would like to use?

    You can review the photos of the fish on wildsingapore flickr here https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=54527470%40N00&sort=date-taken-desc&text=Aplocheilus%20panchax&view_all=1

    And the terms for use of my photos here



Related Posts with Thumbnails