29 March 2009

Mangroves of Chek Jawa

A quick look at the mangroves of Chek Jawa.These cute and gaudy fiddler crabs were creeping about on the mud near the back mangroves! These had red eyes on red eyestalks. They were tiny.
It seems that they build the turret-like burrows that we often see in the mud.There was also another kind with black eyes on black eyestalks. I have no idea what they are!Mudskippers are among the most delightful creatures to encounter in the mangroves. And at Chek Jawa, my favourite are the Blue-spotted mudskippers (Boleophthalmus boddarti). These rather small, quiet fishes are hard to spot.

The surprise for the morning was to encounter young trees of Bruguiera sexangula growing right next to the boardwalk!This mangrove tree is listed as 'Critically Endangered' in the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore. It resembles Tumu (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza) which is more common and whose flowers have a bright red calyx with 12-14 lobes. Bruguiera sexangula is identified by yellow or pale calyx which has 10-12 lobes. The trees seem to be doing alright, already flowering and forming propagules even though it is barely taller than the boardwalk.

Another special tree at the Chek Jawa boardwalk is Putat kampong (Barringtonia racemosa). It has pink puff-ball flowers hanging in a long spike.
The fruits are pear- or egg-shaped. This coastal tree is also listed as 'Critically Endangered' in the Red List of threatened plants of Singapore.

It seems to be the season for blossoms!
The trail to Chek Jawa was strewn with tiny star-shaped flowers, probably of the Sea almond (Terminalia catappa). And the Durian tree near the Information Kiosk was also blooming!

The Naked Hermit Crabs are doing a public tour of the Chek Jawa boardwalk today. I'm sure we'll hear more about the delightful treasures that can be encountered on this precious shore of ours.

I was out at Chek Jawa for the first sunrise monitoring with TeamSeagrass!
Read more about the trip on the TeamSeagrass blog.


  1. Ria,
    The Bruguiera sexangula trees that you see on CJ were propagules collected from the original two enormous trees on P. Tekong in 2002. We grew these propagules in NIE, and later gave them back to the National Parks Board colleagues on P. Ubin.

    John Yong

  2. Wow thanks for sharing that Dr John! The trees on Chek Jawa sure were doing very well. Through the hard work of yourself and NParks, these special trees are finding new homes and we have hope that they will continue to thrive on our shores.

  3. Are there any B. sexangula at Sungei Buloh?

  4. I'm checking with Sungei Buloh on this and as soon as I hear from them, I'll post the reply. Sorry for the delay.



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