Below you can see a satellite picture of the Sundarbans, the mangrove of the Bengal delta straddling India and Bangladesh :
The mangrove of the Sundarbans
© NASA, Earth Observatory / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0
Satellite image re-created by Jesse Allen – data from the University of Maryland
The mangrove is the dark green spot. It’s composed of mangrove trees (very special trees indeed, we are going to see this later on) that have established themselves there along the shoreline. This mangrove forest is intersected by long and big rivers whose waters are browner than blue-green because of the mud they carry.
From the point of view of a little human being, you only enter into this kind of forests thanks to a kayak or a wooden bridge if you see what I mean. No, you don’t ? Well then, look at this :
A wooden bridge in the Pappinisseri mangrove park (south-west coast of India)
© Ks.mini / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Animals and vegetation of the mangroves
Well, now that you know a little about the subject, if I tell you ‘mangrove’, in an instant, you tell me, you tell me … mangrove trees ! Yes indeed, no !?
Mangrove trees don’t have any decency. They show their roots to both aerial and aquatic animals. Take a look below at this picture of Japan’s Okinawa mangrove. You can clearly see the roots of the trees plunging into the ocean’s salty waters.
Iriomote Island, Okinawa, Japan
© Anagounagi / Wikimédia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0
Mangroves are full of life. They don’t “only” shelter mangrove forests. As far as vegetation is concerned, they are a little lonely, true enough. The salinity of their environment isn’t favorable to diversity. There are indeed a few figs clinging on their fig trees, a few amaranths and a few fern, but mangrove trees are really selfishly topping the charts there.
As far as animals are concerned, they have made themselves much more at ease. Monkeys, fish, snakes, deers, Bengal tigers, herons, pelicans, egrets, scarlet ibis, birds and mosquitoes of all types, crabs, clams, shellfish, oysters, shrimps populate the territory. Here is for example a beautiful … yes, it’s a pelican !
A pelican on Margarita Island (Venezuela)
© The Photographer / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication
A very peculiar fish lives in the mangroves. It’s called the periophtalmus (or the mudskipper if you prefer). It measures between 12 and 30 centimeters. It has a skeleton, can stay up to two days and a half in the open air, walks thanks to its fins and is the proud owner of two extremely mobile eyes that don’t necessarily look in the same direction at the same moment …
OK so, I didn’t want to bother you with an image of a top model of the genus, but well, eventually, I put one up only for you …
Fred, the mudskipper, star fish of the mangroves
© Webridge / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Where are situated the mangroves ?
There are mangroves on almost every continent, along the subtropical coasts (where it’s warm and humid).
Mangrove distribution in the world
© Pinpin / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
The mangrove of Martinique
The mangrove of Martinique for example can be found in the east, south and west of the island in the bays sheltered from the wind. The island itself is located between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the west, between North America to the north and, yes, South America … to the south.
The mangrove nearby Dubuc’s castle in Martinique
© Jmp48 / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
The mangrove spans all in all on about 1,800 hectares and is in charge (as all other mangroves of the world) to impede the erosion of the coasts. It provides a protection barrier to the island, defending it from the ocean.
The mangrove of Florida
You’ve certainly heard about the Everglades in Florida. A very turistical site, one goes there to admire, among other beauties of Nature, the crocodiles. Here is below a hidden specimen of the species …
Crocodile in the Everglades
© Idawriter / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0
A little summary so as to remember the most important
A little summary so as not to forget and for the little pranksters who only looked at the pictures …
– A mangrove is a forest of mangrove trees that protect the shoreline of a warm and humid place
– The mangrove trees are those trees that have their roots in salty ocean waters, no problemo.
That’s right, I told you it was going to be a ‘lit-tle summary’ and it was ! Now, if you are on a pirogue and it hits a root in the water, you’ll know that there are good odds that you’ve just knocked on the door of a mangrove !