to 30cm, Indo-West Pacific, common but rarely seen.
The mud lobster is a very important member of the mangrove ecosystem.
It excavates extensive catacombs, bringing the mud
to the surface and forming characteristic volcano-like mounds which
form a topographically distinct zone next
to the back mangrove.
Mud lobsters feed on organic matter in the mud, and for this reason,
they are not popular as food although they are eaten.
Mud lobsters help bring up organic matter from deep underground and
the recycling of nutrients in the ecosystem.
The huge mounds (which may be up to 3 m in height) are also key habitats
for many animals (e.g., the ant Odontomachus
malignus, the Tree-climbing crab Episesarma
singaporense, the Mangrove mud shrimp Wolffogebia
phuketensis, the spider Idioctis littoralis, the file
snake Acrochordus granulatus) and communities, including
social insects (e.g., termites) and ferns.
The tree Excoecaria agallocha, is associated
with lobster mounds, growing in and around them.
Mud lobsters are a pest in areas where prawn or fish farming occurs
as their incessant burrowing weakens bunds.
There is also a second smaller species from Singapore, T. gracilis
which forms smaller mounds at the base of those made by T. anomala.
Section of mound
growing on a mud-lobster
mound with a young Acrostichum aureum
plant on the lower right
(total length=6 cm)
freshly preserved colours