30 December 2012

Finlaysonia fun at Mandai

Funny furry Finalysonia blossoms! With strange curly things in the middle.
I saw several of these on the Critically Endangered climbing Kalak kambing (Finlaysonia obovata) climbers at Mandai mangroves this evening. A quick mizzly trip (miserable drizzle) and yet we saw interesting stuff in this special mangrove.

Here's what it looks like from another angle. To me, it looks like a cookie with icing on it, or perhaps I'm just hungry. Some say the flowers have a noxious smell and are believed to be pollinated by flies and beetles that are attracted to rotting carcasses. But I didn't smell anything.
How cute to see the beginnings of the fruit! Eventually, it will become a large ridged fruit that looks like two horns of a buffalo. Or as Jose says, like a fat moustache.
I took the time to look more carefully at the animals in the mangroves today. Among the leaves there were lots of spiders and other insects like this cricket.
In the pools, there were little gobies, lots of mangrove flatworms but alas, no mangrove slugs.
There were many little crabs everywhere. But the prettiest are these colourful Face-banded crabs (Perisesarma sp.)
Jose found some Black-mouth nerites (Dostia cornucopia) which are only found in the mangroves.
Also some Red-mouth mangrove nerites (Dostia violacea).
And these odd little snails. I don't know what they are but I also saw them grazing on the mud and seagrasses too.
The strangest thing I came across today was a crab moult hanging off a branch. Did the crab climb all the way up to moult? Or did this get stranded by the low tide?
It was good to see that the rare Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii) is still doing well here. They grow densely and are a fresh green.
Oh dear, we saw several large trees that have fallen over.
Here's another tall tree that look like it just fell over. One possible reason for this is erosion and loss of sediments as the major rivers that used to drain into this area in the past due to damming for reservoirs. It's a long term threat to our Northern mangroves including those at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
We also came across this propagule that was bright pink! I learnt from Dr Yong that these are called 'albino' propagules and show that the mother tree was exposed to some kind of pollution. Propagules are baby trees that grow on the mother, and just like human babies, they react more severely to pollutants in the mother.
Jose took time from his brief visit home to join me on this trip! Which is great because I really shouldn't muck around in the mangroves alone.
This is my first trip here since June 2012! Alas, I wish I had more time to visit our mangroves more often.

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