a publication of Sungei Buloh Nature Park

Vol 4 No 2
Aug 97

June Vacation Workshop
for children

Mangrove Crabs of Sungei Buloh

Earth Day Programme

List of Common Migrant Birds
at Sungei Buloh
Just a Crabby Note
Linda Goh

Have you ever experienced walking along the Mangrove Boardwalk when it is high tide and have the creepy feeling that many eyes are following you? Well, fear not. Look hard and you will soon discover they are only well-camouflaged Mangrove Crabs peering at you.

Some of these crab are seen climbing up the mangrove trees and sometimes even the boardwalk to avoid the incoming tide. They are known to crawl just high enough to remain above the sea level. One possible reason for this could be to escape predators that lurk in the deep mysteroius waters of the mangroves.

To survive on atmospheric air, these sesarmines possess net-like patterns on the sides of their shells, which enables them to recirculate water in the gill chambers so that they can breath on land. Two commonly observed mangrove crabs found in the Park are the Episesarma sp. and Chiromantes sp. Ecologically, these crabs are known to be important. By feeding on the mangrove leaves that have fallen from the canopy, these sesarmid crabs help to initiate the breakdown of these leaves, which are otherwise difficult to decompose.

Crabby Stuff

My neighbour didn't mind me digging and scraping at his home today, quite unlike his usual self. The grouchy, muddy Mr. Mud-lobster is minding his own business, excavating another tunnel to expand his territory. The homes we share are like volcanoes springing up on the mangrove swamp.

Mr Mud Lobster

People, adults and children alike, would walk on strange-looking structures they call boardwalks to look at me. I hate their stares and will normally go back into my home without much ado. Sure hope they'll mind their own business. Of course there are times when I can't run from the stares. When it is high tide and my home is flooded, I will have to climb up the branches of my favourite Rhizophora apiculata (a mangrove tree, for those ignorant you!). Mr. Rhizophora Sir, by the way, is very grateful for my existence. I like to eat the leaves that have fallen off him. In return, I process (pass out!) the leaves for him in easily absorbed form. You could say we all live in harmony and what humans call co-existence in an ecosystem. What a mouthful!

For a humorous look at Tree Climbing Crabs in Singapore Mangroves (Vol 6 No 1 Apr 99)
© Sungei Buloh Nature Park