“Whenever we explore the back mangroves in Singapore or around Southeast Asia, one is almost certain to come across mud lobster mounds of various sizes, at multiple stages of development (above, below).
“However, encounters with the actual mud lobster (Thalassina sp.) itself are often few and far between. One fine morning, I chanced upon this elusive and enigmatic crustacean (below) whilst strolling along a boardwalk. It was engrossed with excavating a burrow, as it repeatedly descended into the murky depths and returned to the surface, shoveling mud and sand.
“Video clips of this rarely observed creature may be previewed here:
“Mud lobsters play an immensely important role in the mangrove ecosystem. As a result of their tireless burrowing and tunnelling activity, the oxygen supply to the roots of mangrove plants is substantially increased. Nutrients from the depths are also brought up to the surface. A wide diversity of animals, from insects and spiders, to reptiles and even other crustaceans, are thus able to find a safe haven inside these cosy cavities.”
Dr Leong Tzi Ming
30th November 2019