Flora index
Fauna index
guide to the mangroves of singapore
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)
Mud lobster
Thalassina anomala
Family Thalassinidae

up 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.

<<Back to crustacea
close-up of mud lobster
T. anomala

mound "dissected" to show burrow and tunnel
Section of mound
showing burrow

plants growing on mound
Lepidozia mamillosa plants
growing on a mud-lobster
mound with a young Acrostichum aureum plant on the lower right

close-up of preserved specimen
T. gracilis
(total length=6 cm)
freshly preserved colours
What is mangrove?

The Ecosystem


Indirect uses
Potential uses

About Mangroves
in Singapore

Mangroves to visit
From "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore", Peter K. L. Ng and N. Sivasothi (editors)
Volume 1: The Ecosystem and Plant Diversity and Volume 2: Animal Diversity
Authors: Kelvin K. P. Lim, Dennis H. Murphy, T. Morgany, N. Sivasothi, Peter K. L. Ng,
B. C. Soong, Hugh T. W. Tan, K. S. Tan & T. K. Tan
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre, sponsored by British Petroleum
2001 Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre