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Mangroves of Florida

The term mangrove is loosely used to describe a wide variety of often unrelated tropical and subtropical trees and shrubs which share common characteristics. Globally, more than 50 species in 16 different families are considered mangroves (Tomlinson 1986). In Florida, the mangrove community consists of three main species of true mangroves: the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle, the black mangrove, Avicennia germinans, and the white mangrove, Laguncularia racemosa.

The buttonwood, Conocarpus erectus, is often considered a fourth mangrove species, however, it is classified as a mangrove associate because it lacks any morphological specialization common in true mangrove species, and because it generally inhabits the upland fringe of many mangrove communities.

Red mangroves dominante the shoreline from the upper subtidal to the lower intertidal zones (Davis 1940, Odum and McIvor 1990), and are distinguished from other mangroves by networks of prop roots that originate in the trunk of the tree and grow downward towards the substratum. Red mangroves may attain heights of 25 m, with leaves a glossy, bright green at the upper surface, with somewhat more pale undersides. Trees flower throughout the year, peaking in spring and summer. Propagules of the red mangrove are pencil-shaped and may reach 30 cm in length as they mature on the parent tree (Savage 1972, Carlton 1975).

Black mangroves typically are found growing immediately inland of red mangroves and may reach 20 m high. They are characterized by their conspicuous pneumatophores, vertical branches that may extend upward in excess of 20 cm from cable roots lying below the soil. Pneumatophores develop into extensive networks of fingerlike projections that surround the bases of black mangroves to provide them with proper aeration. The leaves of black mangroves tend to be somewhat narrower than those of red mangroves and are often found encrusted with salt. Black mangroves flower throughout spring and early summer, producing bean-shaped propagules (Savage 1972, Carlton 1975, Odum and McIvor 1990).

White mangroves are more prominent in high marsh areas, typically growing upland of both red and black mangroves. White mangroves are significantly shorter than red or black mangroves, generally reaching 15 m in height. Their leaves are oval in shape, and somewhat flattened. Trees flower in spring and early summer, and produce small propagules which measure only 1 cm.

Mangroves occur in dense, brackish swamps along coastal and tidally influenced, low energy shorelines. In Florida, mangrove forests extend from the Florida Keys to St. Augustine on the Atlantic coast, and Cedar Key on the Gulf coast. Factors such as climate, salt tolerance, water level fluctuation, nutrient runoff, and wave energy influence the composition, distribution, and extent of mangrove communities. Temperature also plays a major role in mangrove distribution. Typically, mangroves occur in areas where mean annual temperatures do not drop below 19°C (66°F) (Waisel 1972). Mangroves are damaged under conditions where temperatures fluctuate more than 10°C within short periods of time, or when they are subject to freezing conditions for even a few hours. Further, Lugo and Patterson-Zucca (1977) showed that stress induced by low temperatures leads to decreasing structural complexity in black mangroves, with tree height, leaf area, leaf size and tree density within a forest all negatively impacted.

Mangrove Adaptations

In general, mangrove species share 4 important traits that allow them to live successfully under environmental conditions that often exclude other species. Some of these adaptations include: morphological specialization, i.e., aerial prop roots, cable roots, vivipary, and other features that enable mangroves to adapt and thrive in their environments; the ability to excrete or exclude salts; habitat specificity within estuaries, with no extension into upland terrestrial communities; and taxonomic isolation from other generically related species inhabiting upland communities (Tomlinson 1986).

Root Aeration

Another adaptation exhibited by mangroves is observed in root aeration. Soils in mangrove areas tend to be fairly axoxic, preventing many types of plants from taking root. Mangroves have adapted to this condition by evolving shallow root systems rather than deep taproots. Red mangroves aerate their roots by way of drop roots and prop roots which develop from lower stems and branches, and penetrate the soil only a few centimeters. Prop roots act to both stabilize the tree, and provide critical aeration to the roots. The above-ground areas of these roots are perforated by many small pores called lenticels that allow oxygen to diffuse first into cortical air spaces called aerenchyma, and then into underground roots (Scholander et al 1955, Odum and McIvor 1990). Water is prevented from entering the tree via lenticels due to their highly hydrophobic nature which allows the red mangrove to exclude water from prop roots and drop roots even during high tides (Waisel 1972).

Black mangroves utilize a different strategy for aeration of root tissues. Black mangroves have cable roots which lie only a few centimeters below the soil surface, and raditate outward from the stem of the tree (Odum and McIvor 1990). A network of erect aerial roots extends upward from the cable roots to penetrate the soil surface. These erect roots, called pneumatophores, contain lenticels and aerenchyma for gas exchange, and may form dense mats around the base of black mangrove trees, with pneumatophores attaining as much as 20 cm or more in height depending on the depth of flood tides (Odum and McIvor 1990).

Salt Balance

Mangroves are facultative halophytes, meaning they have the ability to grow in either fresh or salt water depending on which is available. However, despite the fact that mangroves are able to grow in fresh water, they are largely confined to estuaries and upland fringe areas that are at least periodically flooded by brackish or salt water (Gilmore and Snedaker 1993). Mangroves are rarely found growing in upland communities. Simberloff (1983) and Tomlinsion (1986) suggested that one reason mangroves do not develop in strictly freshwater communities is due to space competition from freshwater vascular plants. By growing in saline water, mangroves reduce competitive threat, and thus are able to dominate the areas they grow in.

As facultative halophytes, mangroves not only tolerate, but thrive under saline conditions. They accomplish this either by preventing salts from entering their tissues, or by being able to excrete excess salts that are taken in. Red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle), for example, exclude salts at their root surfaces. This is accomplished nonmetabolically via a reverse osmosis process driven by transpiration at leaf surfaces in which water loss from leaves produces high negative pressure in xylem tissue. This, in turn, allows water to freely diffuse into plant tissues. In addition to excluding salts, red mangroves also have the ability to exclude sulfides from their tissues. This sometimes results in elevated pore water concentrations of sulfides in localities where poor flushing of the mangrove area is common (Carlson and Yarbro 1987).

In contrast to salt exclusion observed in red mangroves, other species such as black mangroves, white mangroves and buttonwoods each utilize salt excretion as a salt-balancing mechanism. Salt concentrations in the sap of these species may be up to ten times higher than in species that exclude salts (Odum and McIvor 1990). Salt-excreting species are able to take in high salinity pore water, and then excrete excess salts using specialized salt glands located in the leaves. Atkinson et al. (1967) suggested this process involved active transport, and thus required energy input from mangroves to drive the process.

Reproduction & Dispersal

Reproductive adaptions in mangroves include vivipary and hydrochory (DEF=dispersal of propagules via water).  Red and black mangroves are considered to be viviparous because once seeds are produced, they undergo continuous development rather than entering a resting stage to await germination in appropriate soil. White mangroves are not considered to be viviparous; however, germination in this species often occurs during the dispersal period (Feller 1996). Mangrove reproductive structures, called propagules rather than seeds, germinate and develop embryonic tissue while still attached to the parent. Propagules eventually detach from the parent and float in water for a certain period of time before completing embryonic development (Rabinowitz 1978a, Odum and McIvor 1990) and taking root in new areas. For germination to be completed, propagules must remain in water for extended periods of time.  The obligate dispersal period in red mangroves is approximated to be 40 days; in black mangroves, it is estimated at 14 days; and in white mangroves it is estimated at 8 days (Rabinowitz 1978a). This combined strategy of vivipary and long-lived, floating propagules allows not only wide dispersal of mangroves, but also allows for seedlings to establish themselves quickly once appropriate substrata are encountered (Odum and McIvor 1990).

Productivity & Nutrient FLux

Mangrove forests are among the world’s most highly productive ecosystems, with gross primary production estimated at 3 – 24 g C/m-2 day -1, and net production estimated at 1 – 12 g C/m-2 day -1 (Lugo and Snedaker 1974, Lugo et al. 1976). Red mangroves have the highest production rates, followed by black mangroves and white mangroves (Lugo et al. 1976). Black mangroves have been shown to have higher respiration rates, and thus lower primary production,  in comparison to the red mangroves, due perhaps, to the higher salinity stress red mangrove trees come under (Miller 1972, Lugo and Snedaker 1974).

Mangrove communities, like many tidal wetlands, accumulate nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as heavy metals and trace elements that are deposited into estuarine waters from terrestrial sources, and thus act as nutrient “sinks” for these materials. Mangrove roots, epiphytic algae, bacteria and other microorganisms, as well a wide variety of invertebrates take up and sequester nutrients in their tissues, often for long periods of time. Mangroves also continually act as sources for carbon, nitrogen, and other elements as living material dies and is decomposed into dissolved, particulate and gaseous forms. Tidal flushing then assists in distributing this material to areas where other organisms may utilize it.   

Leaf litter, including leaves, twigs, propagules, flowers, small braches and insect refuse, is a major nutrient source to consumers in mangrove systems (Odum 1970). Generally, leaf litter is composed of approximately 68 – 86 % leaves, 3 – 15 % twigs, and 8 – 21 % miscellaneous material (Pool et al. 1975). Leaf fall in Florida mangroves was estimated to be 2.4 dry g m-2 day -1 on average, with significant variation depending on the site (Heald 1969, Odum 1970). Typically, black mangrove leaf fall rates are only ½ those of the red mangrove (Lugo et al. 1980).

Once fallen, leaves and twigs decompose fairly rapidly, with black mangrove leaves decomposing faster than red mangrove leaves (Heald et al. 1979). Areas experiencing high tidal flushing rates, or which are flooded frequently, have faster rates of decomposition and export than other areas. Heald (1969) also showed that decomposition of red mangrove litter proceeds faster under saline conditions than under fresh water conditions, and also reported that as the decay process proceeds, nitrogen, protein, and caloric content within the leaf all increase.

Types of Mongrove Forests

Gilmore and Snedaker (1993) described 5 distinct types of mangrove forests based on water level, wave energy, and pore water salinity: 1) mangrove fringe forests, 2) overwash mangrove islands, 3) riverine mangrove forests, 4) basin mangrove forests, and 5) dwarf mangrove forests.

Mangrove Fringe

Mangrove fringe forests occur along protected coastlines and the exposed open waters of bays and lagoons. These forests typically have a vertical profile, owing to full-sun exposure. Red mangroves dominate fringe forests, but when local topology rises toward the uplands, other species may be included in zones above the water line. Tides are the primary physical factor in fringing forests, with daily cycles of tidal inundation and export transporting buoyant materials such as leaves, twigs and propagules from mangrove areas to adjacent shallow water areas. This export of organic material provides nutrition to a wide variety of organisms and provides for continued growth of the fringing forest.

Overwash Islands

Like fringe forests, mangrove overwash islands are also subject to tidal inundation, and are dominated by red mangroves. The major difference between mangrove fringe forests and overwash islands is that, in the latter, the entire island is typically inundated on each tidal cycle. Because overwash islands are unsuitable for human habitation, and because the water surrounding them may act as a barrier to predatory animals such as raccoons, rats, feral cats, etc., overwash islands are often the site of bird rookeries.

Riverine Mangrove Forests

Riverine mangrove forests occur on seasonal floodplains in areas where natural patterns of freshwater discharge remain intact. Salinity drops during the wet season, when rains cause extensive freshwater runoff;  however, during the dry season, estuarine waters are able to intrude more deeply into river systems, and salinity increases as a result. This high seasonal salinity may aid primary production by excluding space competitors from mangrove areas. Further, nutrient availability in these systems becomes highest during periods when salinity is lowest, thus promoting optimal mangrove growth. This alternating cycle of high runoff/low salinity followed by low runoff/high salinity led Pool et al. (1977) to suggest that riverine mangrove forests are the most highly productive of the mangrove communities.

Basin Mangrove Forests

Basin mangrove forests are perhaps the most common community type, and thus are the most commonly altered wetlands. Basin mangrove forests occur in inland depressions which are irregularly flushed by tides. Because of irregular tidal action in these forests, hypersaline conditions are likely to occur periodically. Cintron et al. (1978) observed that the physiological stress induced by extreme hypersalinity may severely limit growth, or induce mortality in mangroves. Black mangroves tend to dominate in basin communities, but certain exotic trees such as Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) and Australian pine (Casuarina spp.) are also successful invaders. Basin mangrove forests contribute large amounts of organic debris to adjacent waters, with the majority being exported as whole leaves, particulates, or dissolved organic substances typical of waters containing high tannin concentrations.

Dwarf Mangrove Forests

Dwarf mangrove forests occur in areas where nutrients, freshwater, and inundation by tides are all limited. Any mangrove species can be dwarfed, with trees generally limited in height to approximately 1 meter or less. Dwarf forests are most commonly observed in South Florida, around the vicinity of the Everglades, but occur in all portions of the range where physical conditions are suboptimal, especially in drier transitional areas. Despite their small size and relatively low area to biomass ratios, dwarf mangroves typically have higher leaf litter production rates; thus primary production in dwarf forests is disproportionately high when compared with normal mangrove forests.

Ecological Role of Mangroves

Mangroves perform a vital ecological role providing habitat for a wide variety of species. Odum et al. (1982) reported 220 fish species, 24 reptile species, 18 mammal species, and 181 bird species that all utilize mangroves as habitat during some period of life. Additionally many species, though not permanent mangrove inhabitants, make use of mangrove areas for foraging, roosting, breeding, and other activities. 

Mangrove canopies and aerial roots offer a wealth of habitat opportunities to many species of estuarine invertebrates. Barnacles, sponges, mollusks, segmented worms, shrimp, insects, crabs, and spiny lobsters all utilize mangrove prop roots as habitat for at least part of their life cycles (Gillet1996 In: Feller 1996). Additionally, mangrove roots are particularly suitable for juvenile fishes. A study by Thayer et al. (1987) in the Florida Everglades showed that comparitively more fishes were sampled from mangrove areas than from adjacent seagrass beds. In this study, 75% of the number of fishes sampled were taken from mangrove areas, while only 25% were sampled from nearby seagrass beds. Further, when fish densities in each habitat were examined, fish density in mangroves was 35 times higher than in adjacent seagrass beds.

In addition to providing vital nursery and feeding habitat to fishes, mangroves also assist in shoreline protection and stabilization. Prop roots of red mangroves trap sediments in low-energy estuarine waters, and thus assist in preventing coastal erosion. Mangroves also assist in buffering the coastal zone when tropical storms and hurricanes strike. Because mangroves encounter damaging winds and waves before inland areas do, the branches in their canopies, and their many prop roots create friction that opposes and reduces the force of winds and waves. Thus, coastlines are protected from severe wave damage, shoreline erosion and high winds (Gillet1996 In: Feller 1996).

A number of spatial guilds for mangrove-associated species were identified by Gilmore and Snedaker (1993). The sublittoral/littoral guild utilizes the prop root zone of red mangroves associated with fringe forests, riverine forests, and overwash forests. The prop root zone provides sessile filter feeding organisms such as bryozoans, tunicates, barnacles, and mussels with an ideal environment. Mobile organisms such as crabs, shrimp, snails, boring crustaceans, polychaete worms, many species of juvenile fishes, and other transient species also utilize the prop root zone of mangroves as both a refuge and feeding area.

The arboreal canopy guild consists of species able to migrate from the water’s surface to the mangrove canopy. Lagoonal snails such as the coffee bean snail (Melamphus coffeus), angulate periwinkle (Littorina anguilifera), and ladderhorn snail (Cerithidea scalariformis) are among the most common of the invertebrate species in this guild. Also common are many species of crustaceans such as the common mangrove crabs Aratus pisoni, Goniopsis cruentata, Pachygrapsus transverses, and Sesarma spp., the isopod Ligea exotica, and many species of insects. Birds also constitute a major component of this spatial guild.

When compared with species that inhabit adjacent seagrass areas, the benthic infaunal guild is generally considered to exist under somewhat impoverished conditions, primarily due to the reducing conditions which often exist in mangrove sediments. Despite this, the benthic infaunal community in mangrove areas is highly productive, especially when microbial activity is taken into consideration.

The upland arboreal guild includes those species associated with tropical hardwoods such as mahogany (Swietenia spp.), cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto), dogwoods (Piscidia spp.), oaks (Quercus spp.), red bay (Persea sp.), gumbo limbo (Bersera simaruba), mastic (Mastichodendron sp.), figs (Ficus spp.) and stoppers (Eugenia spp.). Also included are the various species of bromeliads, orchids, ferns, and other epiphytes that utilize upland trees for support and shelter. Animals of this spatial guild, primarily birds and winged insects, often reside in the upland community, but migrate to feeding areas located in mangroves. Common upland arboreal animals include jays, wrens, woodpeckers, warblers, gnatcatchers, skinks, anoles, snakes, and tree snails.

Finally, the upland terrestrial community is associated with the understory of tropical hardwood forests. The most common members of this guild include various snakes, hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon sp.), raccoons (Procyon lotor), white-tailed deer (Odocoileusus virginianus), bobcats (Felis rufus), gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), and many insect species. Many of the animals in this spatial guild enter mangrove forests daily for feeding, but return to the upland community at other times.>

The following table is an abbreviated list of mangrove species.

Select highlighted links below to learn more about individual species.

Scientific Name Common Name


Acrostichum danaeifolium Mangrove fern
Avicennia germinans Black mangrove
Batis maritima Saltwart
Borrichia frutescens Sea Ox-eye
Casuarina equistifolia Australian pine
Conocarpus erecta Buttonwood
Halodule beaudettei Shoalgrass
Halophila decipiens Paddlegrass
Halophila englemanni Star grass
Halophila johnsonii Johnson’s seagrass
Juncus roemerianus Black needlerush
Laguncularia racemosa White mangrove
Limonium carolinianum Sea lavender
Melaleuca quinquenervia Melaleuca
Monarda punctata Spotted beebalm
Rhizophora mangle Red mangrove
Ruppia maritima Widgeon grass
Salicornia bigelovii Annual glasswart
Salicornia virginica Perennial glasswart
Schinus terebinthifolia Brazilian pepper
Suaeda linearis Sea blite
Sueda maritima Sea blite
Syringodium filiforme Manatee grass
Thalassia testudinium Turtlegrass
Verbesina virginica White crownbeard

Algae & Other Protists

Acanthophora spicifera Red alga
Anacystis montana Cyanobacteria
Anadyomena sp. Green alga
Caulerpa sertularoides Green feather alga
Caulerpa spp. Green alga
Chaetoceros anastomosans Diatom
Chaetoceros spp. Diatom
Chaetomorpha linum Green alga
Cladophoropsis membranacea Green alga
Cryptoperidinopsis spp. Dinoflagellates
Derbesia vaucheriaeformis Green alga  
Enteromorpha spp. Green algae
Gonyaulax monilata Dinoflagellate 
Gracilaria spp. Red alga
Gymnodidium pulchellum Dinoflagellate
Halimeda discoidea Green alga
Hypnea spp.. Red algae
Lyngbya lutea Cyanobacteria
Nitzchia spp. Diatoms
Paralia spp. Diatoms
Phormidium crosbyanum Cyanobacteria
Polysiphonia sp. Red algae
Scrippsiella subsalsa Dinoflagellate
Skeletonema costatum Diatom
Spirulina sp. Cyanobacteria
Thalssiosira spp. Diatoms
Ulva spp. Green algae


Abudefduf saxatilus Sergeant major
Acetes americanus Aviu shrimp
Achirus lineatus Lined sole
Acteocina canaliculata Cahnneled barrel-bubble
Aiptasia pallida Pale anemone
Ajaia ajaia Roseate spoonbill
Alligator mississipensis American alligator
Alpheus armillatus Banded snapping shrimp
Alpheus heterochaelis Common snapping shrimp
Amygdalum papyrum Atlantic papermussel
Anachis semiplicata Gulf dovesnail
Anas acuta Northern pintail
Anas americana American widgeon
Anas clypeata Northern shoveler
Anas crecca Green-winged teal
Anas discors blue-winged teals
Anas fulvigula Mottled duck
Anas spp. Dabbling ducks
Anchoa cubana Cuban anchovy
Anchoa hepsetus Striped anchovy
Anchoa lyolepis Dusky anchovy
Anchoa mitchelli Bay anchovy
Anguilla rostrata American eel
Anhinga anhinga Anhinga
Anomalocardia auberiana Pointed venus
Apalone ferox Florida softshelled turtle
Arca imbricata Mossy ark
Aratus pisoni Mangrove crab
Archosargus probatocephalus Sheepshead
Archosargus rhomboidalis Sea bream
Arctia tonsa Calanoid copepod
Ardea alba Great egret
Ardea herodias Great blue heron
Arius felis Hardhead catfish
Ascidia curvata Curved tunicate
Ascidia nigra Black tunicate
Assiminea spp. (none)
Astyris lunata Lunar dovesnail
Atherinomorus stipes Hardhead silverside
Aythya affinis Lesser scaup
Aythya americana Redhead duck
Aythya collaris Ringneck duck
Aythya valisineria Canvasback
Bagre marinus Gafftopsail catfish
Balanus eburneus Ivory barnacle
Bairdiella chrysoura Silver perch, yellowtail
Bathygobius curacao Notchtongue goby
Bathygobius soporator Frillfin goby
Bittiolum varium grass cerith
Boonea impressa Impressed odostome
Botryllus planus Variable encrusting tunicate
Brachidontes exustus Scorched mussel
Branchiomma nigromaculata Black spotted fanworm
Brevoortia smithi menhaden
Brevoortia tyrannus Atlantic menhaden
Bubulcus ibis Cattle egret
Bucephala albeola Bufflehead
Bulla striata Striate bubble
Bunodosoma cavernata American warty anemone
Bunodosoma graniliferum Red warty anemone
Bursatella leachii pleii Browsing sea hares
Busycon contrarium Lightning whelk
Butroides virescens Green backed heron
Calidris alpina Dunlin
Calidris mauri Western sandpiper
Calidris minutilla Least sandpiper
Calidris spp. Sandpipers
Callinectes bocourti Red crab
Callinectes ornatus ornate blue crab
Callinectes sapidus blue crab
Callinectes similis lesser blue crab
Capitella spp. Polychaete worm
Caranx hippos Crevalle jack
Carcharhinus leucas bull shark
Cardinalis cardinalis Cardinal
Cardisoma guanhumi giant land crab
Carditamera floridana Broad ribbed carditid
Cassiopeia frondosa upside-down jellyfish
Cassiopeia xamachana Upside-down jellyfish
Catoptrophorus semipalmatus Willet
Centropomus parallelus Fat snook
Centropomus pectinatus Tarpon snook
Centropomus undecimalis common snook
Centropristis philadelphica Rock sea bass
Ceratozona squalida Eastern surf chiton
Cerithidea scalariformis Ladderhorn snail
Cerithium muscarum Flyspeck cerith
Chaetodipterus faber Atlantic spadefish
Charadrius vociferus Killdeer
Chardrius semipalmatus Semipalmated plover
Chasmodes bosquianus Striped blenny
Chasmodes saburrae Florida blenny
Chelonia mydas Green sea turtle
Chicoreus florifer Lace murex
Chondrilla nucula Chicken liver sponge
Citharichtys spilopteus Bay whiff
Clavelina oblonga Oblong tunicate
Clavelina picta Painted tunicate
Coccyzus minor Mangrove cuckoo
Columba leucocephala White-crowed pigeon
Corophium sp. Amphipod
Costoanachis avara Greedy dovesnail
Crassostrea virginica Eastern oyster
Crepidula convexa Convex slippersnail
Crepidula plana Eastern white slippersnail
Crocodylus acutus American crocodile
Cymatium pileare Hairy triton
Cynoscion nebulosus Spotted seatrout
Cynoscion regalis Weakfish
Cyprinodon variegatus sheepshead minnow
Cypselurus heterurus Atlantic flyingfish
Dasyatis sabina Atlantic stingray
Dendroica petechia gundlachi Cuban yellow warbler
Dendroica discolor paludicola Florida prairie warbler
Diapterus auratus Irish pompano
Didemnum conchyliatum White spongy tunicate
Diodora cayensis Keyhole limpet
Diopatra spp. Plumed worm,
Diplodus argenteus Silver porgy
Diplodus holbrooki Spottail pinfish
Donax variablilis Variable coquina
Dormitator maculatus Fat sleeper
Drymarchon corais couperi Eastern indigo snake
Ectenascidea turbiniata Mangrove tunicate
Egretta caerula Little blue heron
Egretta rufescens Reddish egret
Egretta thula Snowy egret
Egretta tricolor Tricolored heron
Eleotris pisonis Spinycheek sleeper
Elops saurus Ladyfish
Epinephelus itajara Goliath grouper
Epinephelus morio Red grouper
Eretmochelys imbricata Hawksbill sea turtle
Erotelis smaragdus Emerald sleeper
Eucinostomus argenteus Spotfin mojarra
Eucinostomus gula Silver jenny
Eucinostomus harengulus Tidewater mojarra
Eucinostomus melanopterus Flagfin mojarra
Eudocimus albus White ibis
Eugerres plumieri striped mojarra, goatfish
Eurypanopeus depressus Depressed mud crab
Eurytium limnosum Broadback mud crab
Evorthodus lyricus Lyre goby
Falco peregrinus Peregrine falcon
Fasciolaria lilium hunteria Banded tulip
Felis rufus Bobcat
Floridichthys carpio Goldspotted killifish
Fundulus cingulatus Banded topminnow
Fundulus confluentus Marsh killifish
Fundulus grandis gulf killifish
Fundulus seminolis seminole killifish
Gambusia affinis Mosquitofish
Gambusia holbrooki Eastern mosquitofish
Gambusia rhizophorae Mangrove gambusia
Gerres cinereus Yellowfin mojarra
Geukensia demisa Ribbed mussel
Gobiesox strumosus Skilletfish
Gobioides broussoneti Violet goby
Gobionellus boleosoma Darter goby
Gobionellus oceanicus Highfin goby
Gobionellus smaragdus Emerald goby
Gobiosoma bosc Naked goby
Gobiosoma macrodon Tiger goby
Gobiosoma robustum code goby
Goniopsis cruentata Spotted mangrove crab
Grandidierella bonnieroides Amphipod
Haemulon chrysargyreum Smallmouth grunt
Haemulon parra Sailor’s choice
Haemulon plumieri White grunt
Haemulon sciurus Bluestriped grunt
Haliaeetus leucocephalus Bald eagle
Haminoea antillarum Antilles glassy-bubble
Harengula jaquana Scaled sardine
Hemiramphus balao Balao
Henrya morrisoni Gastropod
Hippocampus erectus Lined seahorse
Hippocampus zosterae Dwarf seahorse
Hippolyte spp. Broken-back shrimp
Hydroides spp. Feather duster worms
Hypoatherina harringtonensis Reef silverside
Ircinia strobilina Stinking pillow sponge
Ishadium recurvum Hooked mussel
Isognomon alatus Flat tree oyster
Isognomon bicolor Bicolor purse oyster
Labidesthes sicculus Brook silverside
Lagodon rhomboides Pinfish, sailor’s choice
Lasiurus spp. Bat
Leander tenuicornis Brown glass shrimp
Leiostomus xanthurus Spot
Lepidochelys kempi Atlantic ridley sea turtle
Lepisosteus osseus Longnose gar
Libinia dubia Doubtful spider crab
Ligia exotica Sea roach
Limnodromus griseus Short billed dowitcher
Limulus polyphemus Horseshoe crab
Littorina angulifera Mangrove periwinkle
Littorina irrorata Marsh periwinkle
Lobotes surinamensis Tripletail
Lolliguncula brevis Atlantic brief squid
Lontra canadensis River otter
Lophogobius cyprinoides Crested goby
Lucania parva Rainwater killifish
Lupinoblennius nicholsi Highfin blenny
Lutjanus analis Mutton snapper
Lutjanus apodus Schoolmaster
Lutjanus griseus Gray snapper, mangrove snapper
Lutjanus jocu Dog snapper
Lutjanus synagris Lane snapper
Lynx rufus Bobcat
Lyonsia floridana Florida lyonsia
Macrobrachium acanthurus Caribbean crayfish
Malaclemys terrapin rhizophorarum Mangrove diamondback terrapin
Malaclemys terrapin tequesta Diamondback terrapin
Trichechus manatus West Indian manatee
Martesia striata Striate paddock, wood boring martesia
Megaceryle alcyon Belted kingfisher
Megalops atlanticus Tarpon
Melamphus coffeus Coffee bean snail
Melampus bidentatus Easten melampus
Melongena corona Crown conch
Membras martinica Rough silverside
Menidia beryllina Inland silverside; tidewater silverside
Menidia peninsulae Penninsula silverside
Menippe mercenaria Florida stone crab
Menippe nodifrons Cuban stone crab
Menticirrhus americanus Southern kingfish
Mephitis mephitis Spotted skunk
Mercenaria mercenaria Hard clam, quahog
Mergus cucullatus Hooded merganser
Mergus serrator Red-breasted merganser
Microgobius gulosus Clown goby
Micropogonias undulatus Croaker
Mogula occidentalis Sandy sea squirt, western sea squirt
Mola mola Ocean sunfish
Monacanthus hispidus Planehead filefish
Mugil cephalus Striped mullet
Mugil curema White mullet
Mycteria americana Wood stork
Mycteroperca microlpis Gag grouper, grey grouper
Myiarchus crinitus crinitus Southern crested flycatcher
Myrophis punctatus Speckled worm eel
Mytilopsis leucophaeta Dark falsemussel
Nassarius vibex Bruised nassa
Neotoma floridana Eastern wood rat
Nereis succinea Polychaete worm
Neritina clenchi Clench’s nerite
Neritina virginea Virgin nerite
Nerodia clarkii Salt marsh snake
Nerodia fasciata compressicauda Mangrove water snake
Noetia ponderosa Ponderous ark
Odocoileus virginianes Whitetail deer
Odostomia engonia Gastropod
Ogilbia cayorum Key brotula
Oligoplites saurus Leatherjacket
Onuphis spp. Parchment tube worm, Onuphis worm
Ophichthus gomesi Shrimp eel
Opisthonema oglinum Atlantic thread herring
Opsanus beta Gulf toadfish
Orchestia spp. Amphipod
Orthropristis chrysoptera Pigfish
Oxyura jamaicensis Ruddy duck
Pachygrapsus gracilis Wharf crab
Pachygrapsus transversus Common shore crab
Palaemontes spp. Grass shrimp
Pandion haliaetus Osprey
Panopeus herbstii Common mud crab
Panulirus argus Spiny lobster
Parablennius marmoreus Seaweed blenny
Paraclinus fasciatus Banded blenny
Parastarte triquetra Brown gemclam
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos White pelican
Pelicanus occidentalis Brown pelican
Penaeus aztecus Brown shrimp
Penaeus duorarum Pink shrimp
Penaeus setiferus White shrimp
Perophora viridis Green colonial tunicate
Petaloconchus varians Variable wormsnail
Phalacocorax auritus Double-crested cormorant
Phallusia nigra Black tunicate
Phrynelox scaber Splitlure frogfish
Pisania pusio Miniature trumpet triton, Pisa snail
Plagusia depressa Spray crab
Planobella scalare Mesa ram’s horn
Planorbella duryi Seminole ram’s horn
Plegadis falcinellus Glossy ibis
Pluvialis squatarola Black billed plover
Podilymbus podiceps Pied-billed grebe
Poecilia latipinna Sailfin molly
Pogonias cromis Black drum
Polyclinum constellatum Starred gelatinous tunicate
Polygyra cereolus Southern flatcoil
Polygyra spp. flatcoils
Prionotus tribulus Bighead searobin
Procambarus alleni Crayfish
Procyon lotor Raccoon
Rallus longirostris Clapper rail
Rithropanopeus harrisi Harris’ mud crab
Rivulus marmoratus Mangrove rivulus
Sagitta spp. Arrow worm
Sardinella aurita Spanish sardine
Sarotherodon melanotheron Blackchin tilapia
Sayella crosseana Gastropod
Sciaenops ocellatus Red drum
Scorpaena brasiliensis Barbfish
Selene vomer Lookdown
Sesarma cinereum Gray marsh crab
Sesarma curacaoense Curacao marsh crab
Sesarma ricordi Marbled marsh crab
Sigmodon hispidus littoralis Hipsid cotton rat
Sphaeroma sp. Wood-boring crustaceans
Sphenia antillensis Antillean sphenia
Sphoeroides nephelus Southern puffer
Sphoeroides spengleri Bandtail puffer
Sphoeroides testudineus Checkered puffer
Sphyraena barracuda Great barracuda
Sphyraena borealis Northern sennett
Spindalis zena Stripe-headed tanager
Spirorbis sp. Serpulid worm
Stellatoma stellata Gastropod
Stenonereis martini Polychaete worm
Strongylura notata Redfin needlefish
Strongylura timucu Timucu
Styela plicata Pleated sea squirt
Sylvilagus floridanus Eastern cottontail
Sylvilagus palustris paludicola Marsh rabbit
Synalpheus fritzmuelleri Speckled snapping shrimp
Syngnathus louisianae Chain pipefish
Syngnathus scovelli Gulf pipefish
Synodus foetens Inshore lizardfish
Tagelus plebeius Stout tagelus
Taphromysis bowmani Mysid shrimp
Tedania ignis Fire sponge
Tellina tampaenis Tampa tellin
Thais spp. Rock shells
Trachinotus falcatus Permit
Trichechus manatus Florida manatee
Trichiurus lepturus Atlantic cutlassfish
Trididemnum savignii Savigni’s encrusting tunicate
Trinectes maculatus Hogchoker
Tringa flavipes Lesser yellowlegs
Tringa melanoleuca Greater yellowlegs
Truncatella pulchella Beautiful truncatella
Tursiops truncatus Bottlenosed dolphin
Turritella spp. Turretsnails
Tylosurus acus Agujon
Tylosurus crocodilus Houndfish
Tyrannus caudifasciatus Loggerhead kingbird
Tyrannus dominicensis Gray kingbird
Uca pugilator Sand fiddler crab
Uca rapax Caribbean fiddler crab
Uca speciosa Ive’s fiddler crab
Uca thayeri Thayer’s fiddler crab
Urocyon cinereoargenteus Gray fox
Urosalpinx cinerea Atlantic oyster drill
Ursus americanus Black bear
Vallentinia gabriellae Hitch-hiking jellyfish
Vireo altiloquus Black whiskered vireo
Vitrinella floridana Florida vitrinella

References & Further Reading

Atkinson, MR, Findlay, GP, Hope, AB, Pitman, MG, Sadler, HDW & HR West. 1967. Salt regulation in the mangroves Rhizophora mangle Lam. and Aerialitis annulata R. Australian J. Biol. Sci. 20: 589-599.

Brockmeyer, RE, Rey, JR, Virnstein, RW, Gilmore, Jr., RG & L Earnest. 1997. Rehabilitation of impounded estuarine wetlands by hydrologic reconnection to the Indian River Lagoon, Florida. J. Wetlands Ecol. Manag. 4: 93-109.

Carlson, PR & LA Yarbro. 1987. Physical and biological control of mangrove pore water chemistry. In: Hook, DD et al., eds. The Ecology and Management of Wetlands. 112-132. Croom Helm. London, UK.

Carlton, JM. 1974. Land-building and stabilization by mangroves. Env. Conserv. 1: 285-294.

Carlton, JM. 1975. A guide to common salt marsh and mangrove vegetation. Florida Marine Resources Publications 6.

Carlton,JM. 1977. A survey of selected coastal vegetation communities of Florida. Florida Marine Research Publications 30.

Cintron, G, Lugo, AE, Pool, DJ, & G Morris. 1978. Mangroves of arid environments in Puerto Rico and adjacent islands. Biotropica. 10: 110-121.

Feller, IC, ed. 1996. Mangrove Ecology Workshop Manual. A Field Manual for the Mangrove Education and Training Programme for Belize. Marine Research Center, University College of Belize. Calabash Cay, Turneffe Islands. Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.

Gilmore, Jr., RG, Cooke, DW & CJ Donahue. 1982. A comparison of the fish populations and habitat in open and closed salt marsh impoundments in east central Florida. NE Gulf Sci. 5: 25-37.

Gilmore, Jr., RG & SC Snedaker. 1993. Chapter 5: Mangrove Forests. In: Martin, WH, Boyce, SG & AC Echternacht, eds. Biodiversity of the Southeastern United States: Lowland Terrestrial Communities. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Publishers. New York, NY. 502 pp.

Harrington, RW & ES Harrington. 1961. Food selection among fishes invading a high subtropical salt marsh; from onset of flooding through the progress of a mosquito brood. Ecology. 42: 646-666.

Heald, EJ. 1969. The production of organic detritus in a south Florida estuary. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Miami. Coral Gables, FL.

Heald, EJ & WE Odum. 1970. The contribution of mangrove swamps to Florida fisheries. Proc. Gulf Caribbean Fish. Inst. 22: 130-135.

Heald, EJ, Roessler, MA & GL Beardsley. 1979. Litter production in a southwest Florida black mangrove community. Proc. FL Anti-Mosquito Assoc. 50th Meeting. 24-33.

Hull, JB & WE Dove. 1939. Experimental diking for control of sand fly and mosquito breeding in Florida saltwater marshes. J. Econ. Entomology. 32: 309-312.

Lahmann, E. 1988. Effects of different hydrologic regimes on the productivity of Rhizophora mangle L. A case study of mosquito control impoundments in Hutchinson Island, St. Lucie County, Florida. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Miami. Coral Gables, FL.

Lewis, III, RR, Gilmore, Jr., RG, Crewz, DW & WE Odum. 1985. Mangrove habitat and fishery resources of Florida. In: Seaman, Jr., W, ed. Florida Aquatic Habitat and Fishery Resources. American Fisheries Society, Florida Chapter. Kissimmee, FL.

Lugo, AE. 1980. Mangrove ecosystems: successional or steady state? Biotropica. 12:65-73.

Lugo, AE & SC Snedaker. 1974. The ecology of mangroves. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 5: 39-64.

Lugo, AE, Sell, M & SC Snedaker. 1976. Mangrove ecosystem analysis. In: Patten, BC, ed. Systems Analysis and Simulation in Ecology. 113-145. Academic Press. New York, NY. USA

Lugo, AE & Patterson-Zucca, C. 1977. The impact of low temperature stress on mangrove structure and growth. Trop. Ecol. 18: 149-161.

Miller, PC. 1972. Bioclimate, leaf temperature, and primary production in red mangrove canopies in South Florida. Ecology. 53: 22-45.

Odum, WE. 1970. Pathways of energy flow in a south Florida estuary. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Miami. Coral Gables, FL.

Odum, WE & CC McIvor. 1990. Mangroves. In: Myers, RL & JJ Ewel, eds. Ecosystems of Florida. 517 – 548. University of Central Florida Press. Orlando, FL.

Odum, WE, McIvor, CC & TJ Smith III. 1982. The ecology of the mangroves of south Florida: a community profile. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services. FWS/OBS-81-24.

Odum, WE & EJ Heald. 1972. Trophic analyses of an estuarine mangrove community. Bull. Mar. Sci. 22: 671-738.

Onuf, CP, Teal, JM & I Valiela. 1977. Interactions of nutrients, plant growth and herbivory in a mangrove ecosystem. Ecology. 58: 514-526.

Platts, NG, Shields, SE & JB Hull. 1943. Diking and pumping for control of sand flies and mosquitoes in Florida salt marshes. J. Econ. Entomology. 36: 409-412.

Pool, DJ, Lugo, AE & SC Snedaker.1975. Litter production in mangrove forests of southern Florida and Puerto Rico. Proc. Int. Symp. Biol. Manag. Mangroves. 213-237. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, FL.

Pool, DJ, Snedaker, SC & AE Lugo. 1977. Structure of mangrove forests in Florida, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Central America. Biotropica. 9: 195-212.

Provost, MW. 1976. Tidal datum planes circumscribing salt marshes. Bull. Mar. Sci. 26: 558-563.

Rabinowitz, D. 1978a. Dispersal properties of mangrove propagules. Biotropica. 10: 47-57.

Rabinowitz, D. 1978b. Early growth of mangrove seedlings in Panama, and a hypothesis concerning the relationship of dispersal and zonation. J. Biogeography. 5: 113-133.

Rey, JR & T Kain. 1990. Guide to the salt marsh impoundments of Florida. Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory Publications. Vero Beach, FL.

Rey, JR, Schaffer, J, Tremain, D, Crossman, RA & T Kain. 1990. Effects of reestablishing tidal connections in two impounded tropical marshes on fishes and physical conditions. Wetlands. 10: 27-47.

Rey, JR, Peterson, MS, Kain, T, Vose, FE & RA Crossman. 1990. Fish populations and physical conditions in ditched and impounded marshes in east-central Florida. N.E. Gulf Science. 11: 163-170.

Rey, JR, Crossman, RA, Peterson, M, Shaffer, J & F Vose. 1991. Zooplankton of impounded marshes and shallow areas of a subtropical lagoon. FL Sci. 54: 191-203.

Rey, JR, Crossman, RA, Kain, T & J Schaffer. 1991. Surface water chemistry of wetlands and the Indian River Lagoon, Florida, USA. J. FL Mosquito Con. Assoc. 62: 25-36.

Rey, JR, Kain, T & R Stahl. 1991. Wetland impoundments of east-central Florida. FL Sci. 54: 33-40.

Rey, JR & CR Rutledge. 2001. Mosquito Control Impoundments. Document # ENY-648, Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Available online at:

Savage, T. 1972. Florida mangroves as shoreline stabilizers. Florida Department of Natural Resources Professional Papers 19.

Scholander, PF, van Dam, L & SI Scholander. 1955. Gas exchange in the roots of mangroves. Amer. J. Botany. 42: 92-98.

Simberloff, DS. 1983. Mangroves. In: Janzen, DH., ed. Costa Rican Natural History. 273-276. University of Chicago Press. Chicago, IL.

Snedaker, SC. 1989. Overview of mangroves and information needs for Florida Bay. Bull. Mar. Sci. 44: 341-347.

Snedaker, S C & AE Lugo. 1973. The role of mangrove ecosystems in the maintenance of environmental quality and a high productivity of desirable fisheries. Final report to the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife in fulfillment of Contract no. 14-16-008-606. Center for Aquatic Sciences.
Gainesville, FL.

Snelson, FF. 1976. A study of a diverse coastal ecosystem on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Vol. 1: Ichthyological Studies. NGR-10-019-004 NASA. Kennedy Space Center, Florida. USA.

Thayer, GW, Colby, DR & WF Hettler Jr. 1987. Utilization of the red mangrove prop roots habitat by fishes in South Florida. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 35: 25-38.

Tomlinson, PB. 1986. The botany of mangroves. Cambridge University Press. London.

Waisel, Y. 1972. The biology of halophytes. Academic Press. New York, NY.

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