Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Mangrove walk at Cape Hillsborough

The tide was a long way out, so there wasn't much moving about on the forest floor. Except for this brush turkey, which, displaying most un-turkey-like behaviour, almost completely ignored me. I was hoping to see some of the mangrove snails that are usually abundant — mud whelks (Terebralia, Telescopium), mangrove nerites (Nerita balteata and periwinkles (Littoraria) — but the forest was pretty dry. You really have to get muddy to find snails but I didn't have the right gear for that. I found dead nerites on the strand line but it's not the same.

The forests at Cape Hillsborough have a good diversity of mangrove species, including cannonball trees (Xylocarpa), blind-your-eye, Rhizophora and Avicennia. All have root systems adapted to potentially unstable, anoxic, salt-laden substrates. (The stilt roots of Rhizophora are particularly popular resting and grazing places for nerites. The big mangrove bivalve Batissa also occurs at the bases of these trees.)

Although not in the intertidal zone, other plant species are common on the landward edge of the forest, including swamp lilies (Crinum).

And then there are these ...

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