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. 

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.

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).

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.

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. 

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


Borrichia frutescens

Sea Ox-eye

Casuarina equistifolia

Australian pine

Conocarpus erecta


Halodule beaudettei


Halophila decipiens


Halophila englemanni

Star grass

Halophila johnsonii

Johnson’s seagrass

Juncus roemerianus

Black needlerush

Laguncularia racemosa

White mangrove

Limonium carolinianum

Sea lavender

Melaleuca quinquenervia


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


Verbesina virginica

White crownbeard


Acanthophora spicifera

Red alga

Anacystis montana


Anadyomena sp.

Green alga

Caulerpa sertularoides

Green feather alga

Caulerpa spp.

Green alga

Chaetoceros anastomosans Diatom

Chaetoceros spp.


Chaetomorpha linum

Green alga

Cladophoropsis membranacea

Green alga

Cryptoperidinopsis spp.


Derbesia vaucheriaeformis

Green alga  

Enteromorpha spp.

Green algae

Gonyaulax monilata


Gracilaria spp.

Red alga

Gymnodidium pulchellum


Halimeda discoidea

Green alga

Hypnea spp..

Red algae

Lyngbya lutea


Nitzchia spp.


Paralia spp.


Phormidium crosbyanum


Polysiphonia sp.

Red algae

Scrippsiella subsalsa


Skeletonema costatum


Spirulina sp.


Thalssiosira spp.


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


Anomalocardia auberiana

Pointed venus

Apalone ferox

Florida softshelled turtle

Arca imbricata

Mossy ark

Aratus pisoni

Mangrove crab

Archosargus probatocephalus


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.


Astyris lunata

Lunar dovesnail

Atherinomorus stipes

Hardhead silverside

Aythya affinis

Lesser scaup

Aythya americana

Redhead duck

Aythya collaris

Ringneck duck

Aythya valisineria


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


Brevoortia tyrannus

Atlantic menhaden

Bubulcus ibis

Cattle egret

Bucephala albeola


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


Calidris mauri

Western sandpiper

Calidris minutilla

Least sandpiper

Calidris spp.


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


Cardisoma guanhumi

giant land crab

Carditamera floridana

Broad ribbed carditid

Cassiopeia frondosa

upside-down jellyfish

Cassiopeia xamachana

Upside-down jellyfish

Catoptrophorus semipalmatus


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


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.


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


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


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


Floridichthys carpio

Goldspotted killifish

Fundulus cingulatus

Banded topminnow

Fundulus confluentus

Marsh killifish

Fundulus grandis

gulf killifish

Fundulus seminolis

seminole killifish

Gambusia affinis


Gambusia holbrooki

Eastern mosquitofish

Gambusia rhizophorae

Mangrove gambusia

Gerres cinereus

Yellowfin mojarra

Geukensia demisa

Ribbed mussel

Gobiesox strumosus


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


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


Henrya morrisoni


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.


Leander tenuicornis

Brown glass shrimp

Leiostomus xanthurus


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


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


Lutjanus griseus

Gray snapper, mangrove snapper

Lutjanus jocu

Dog snapper

Lutjanus synagris

Lane snapper

Lynx rufus


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


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


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


Ogilbia cayorum

Key brotula

Oligoplites saurus


Onuphis spp.

Parchment tube worm, Onuphis worm

Ophichthus gomesi

Shrimp eel

Opisthonema oglinum

Atlantic thread herring

Opsanus beta

Gulf toadfish

Orchestia spp.


Orthropristis chrysoptera


Oxyura jamaicensis

Ruddy duck

Pachygrapsus gracilis

Wharf crab

Pachygrapsus transversus

Common shore crab

Palaemontes spp.

Grass shrimp

Pandion haliaetus


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.


Prionotus tribulus

Bighead searobin

Procambarus alleni


Procyon lotor


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


Sciaenops ocellatus

Red drum

Scorpaena brasiliensis


Selene vomer


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


Stenonereis martini

Polychaete worm

Strongylura notata

Redfin needlefish

Strongylura 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


Trichechus manatus

Florida manatee

Trichiurus lepturus

Atlantic cutlassfish

Trididemnum savignii

Savigni’s encrusting tunicate

Trinectes maculatus


Tringa flavipes

Lesser yellowlegs

Tringa melanoleuca

Greater yellowlegs

Truncatella pulchella

Beautiful truncatella

Tursiops truncatus

Bottlenosed dolphin

Turritella spp.


Tylosurus acus


Tylosurus crocodilus


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



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Report by: K Hill, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
Updates & Photos by: LH Sweat, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

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Page last updated: 15 July 2009

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