Tonight, on the Wild series of documentaries, the National Geographic Channel (check your local listings) will be featuring Secrets of the Mangroves. This has always been a habitat which has fascinated me – by the variety of life they contain and how they have adapted to survive in the ever changing conditions. Saline levels can range from brackish to salt-water, tides ebb and flow through them and waves beat against there boundaries. All these factors have contributed to the fascinating diversity of life that has evolved to survive there.
From the overview:
The Mangroves are called Tidal Forests because the life of a mangrove depends on the tidal ebbs and flows of the sea. The shape of the story will be governed by the tides and the seasonality, so individual species will be used to link the narrative flow. The Tides are particularly important for the rich and varied crab population, mudskippers, crocodiles (for their breeding and other behavior) and all the other creatures we are going to be filming for this project. The program is going to include large animals such as the hippos and their movements through the system. Other animals that have rarely been seen on film such as the Palm nut vulture, bush pigs, mongoose, monitor lizards and snakes feeding on fish and crabs found in the Mangroves. The program is also going to include the amazing hermit crabs and climbing whelks, mudskippers, fiddler crabs, sesamid crabs and Scylla crabs found in mangrove swamps. There will be mating behavior, eating habits and living habits highlighted in the program.
(First photo: A Mangrove tree in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. Above left: Close-up of sand crab sifting sand for particles to eat. Above right: A brightly colored tree frog sitting on a mangrove leaf. Bottom photo: A gaboon adder in amongst the mangrove roots. All photo courtesy of National Geographic Channel)
Learn why mangroves are important at the Mangrove Action Project, which provides the following resources: