Who lives in the mangrove forest? We have already seen that the forests in Belize are home to the Red, Black, and White Mangroves. If you would visit a mangrove canopy, however, you would see more than just the mangrove trees and shrubs. The mangrove forests create habitats for many more plants and animals that are all part of the mangrove ecosystem.


These beautiful orchids grow between the mangroves. Ants live in this plant. These beautiful orchids grow between the mangroves. Ants live in this plant.


Mangrove Anole



Mangrove Yellow Warbler

White Crowned Pigeon Wood Storks


The mangrove tree crab moves up and down the trunk and aerial roots of the red mangrove. It feeds on red-mangrove leaves and propagules in the canopy, but also on algae in the intertidal zone. Fiddlers Fighting

The mangrove leaf miner feeds on the leaves of the red mangrove. Watch the miner eat! [11.3mb]

Although birds and reptiles like the black iguana might be the animals that are the easiest to spot in the mangrove forest, if you take a close look you will also find crabs, snails, and especially insects.

Insects, unlike what people previously thought, form the largest number of species in the mangrove forest.

Some insects feed on detritus, the decaying vegetation at the forest floor or along the shore, but the mangroves also provide many habitats for plant-eating insects, along with their parasites and predators like ants and spiders.

Some insects are generalists, which means they can feed on many different types of food. Others are specialists, which means they feed on specific plants, or even specific parts of plants. The mangrove leaf miner (a larva of a tiny moth), for example, is so specialized that it only feeds on the leaves of the red mangrove.

Other arthropods include a stinging caterpillar, beetles, pseudo-scorpions, bagworms, puss moths, bud moths and propagule miners.

Larger woodborers (which is a general description) go after stems. Much of the dead wood in mangrove forests is the result of these large wood borers. Ants rule in the mangrove forest! They are scavengers and predators.)

Much of the information included in this section of the website is part of an ongoing project put between the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the National Science Foundation. For information, visit the manual.

Family Saturniidae


Genus Marmara

Mangrove Garden Spider

Mantis on mangrove

Stinging caterpillar

Stinging Caterpillars Leaf Mines



Sea Turtles Sea Turtle Activities Sea Turtle Library Mangroves Ecosystems Mangrove Activities Mangrove Library Belize Information Teachers' Area Webcast EFT Sponsors EFT Hosts Insite Website Contact Insite Help Me!

Home | Mangrove Ecosystems | Sea Turtles | Teachers' Area | Webcast | Help

All contents copyright 2003 Teachers College / Ball State University

Presented by Insite: Ball State Teachers College Outreach,
the Best Buy Children's Foundation and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Insite Distance Learning from Ball State University
phone 866-279-8716 | fax 765-285-5455 | e-mail insite@bsu.edu