In tidal regions along the Indian River, mangrove trees form forests of varying height and density. There are 4 local species, but Rhizophora mangle (aka Red Mangrove) is the most recognizable with its long “stilt” roots arcing downward from the trunk and branches:
Maintaining the health of mangrove communities ensures the overall health of the surrounding ecosystem. Airborne roots from one Red Mangrove intertwine with the next to stabilize the coastline and create habitats for estuarine life.
On my latest visit, I noticed several species I’d never seen before. The first was the Mangrove Skipper, aka Phocides pigmalion okeechobee
Mangrove Skippers emerge from November to April which explains why this one looks so perfect…it just finished pupating! Seen from above, their wingspan is approximately 2.5″ and brownish-black with iridescent blue scaling; the hindwing tapers into a small, stubby tail with a submarginal row of faint light blue spots.
If I hadn’t looked down exactly when I did, I might have missed the next species: Southern Needleleaf Airplant aka Tillandsia setacea:
T. setacea, one of our 16 native bromeliads, is commonly found in the crooks of trees. In Springtime, they send up several inflorescences with tiny violet blooms at each tip. Look toward the lefthand side of the photo and note the dry remains of one such flower.
I’m not entirely sure about the grasses in the next picture….
….but I’m leaning toward Bushy Bluestem aka Andropogon glomeratus. Perhaps a more knowledgable reader will point me in the right direction?
And on that note, I must say a HUGE “thank you!!” to everyone who followed, commented or liked any of the 264 posts I’ve written in the past two years!! Today marks my second blogiversary and I am so, SO appreciative!
Until next time…..
- Philippines typhoon: Mangrove trees seen as way to limit storm damage (thestar.com)
- Cuba’s Mangroves Dying of Thirst (ipsnews.net)
- dna special: Mangroves – Reserved forest status likely (dnaindia.com)
- Save the Trees but More Importantly Save the Mangroves (gogreennation.org)
- Sundarbans: the largest mangrove forest of the world (dina22jan.wordpress.com)