Intertidal mud flats
Mangrove Peanut Worm (Phascolosoma arcuatum), Wild Guide to Moreton Bay
Leopard Flatworm (Myoramyxa pardalota), Wild Guide to Moreton Bay Although less frequently visited by humans than sandy beaches mud flats are actually one of the most important of all intertidal marine habitats due to their importance in sustaining fisheries. This is largely due to the association of mud flats with the mangroves growing on them. Mangroves are a collective name for many species of trees and shrubs growing in the intertidal zone that can tolerate salt water, support themselves in soft muddy soils often devoid of oxygen, and produce spike-like rootlets (rhizophora) that help the trees to breath in the mud. They are vital habitats for shore birds, nursery beds of many commercial fisheries species, and also contain a very large variety of unique animals. Nearly 70% of fish, prawns and crabs that humans eat depend on mangroves for at least part of their life cycle, and mangroves produce huge amounts of nutrients that support plankton, other algae, and seagrasses upon which iconic species such as dugong depend. The conservation of mangroves is vital to a sustainable fisheries.
Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.