This is the most common type of mangroves that grow in Florida. The get their name from the color of the wood under the bark. In order to grow that big in a soft muddy environment, the Red Mangrove has adapted aerial ‘prop roots’ which help prop up the tree, and give it a spider-like appearance. These special roots also filter the salt out of the seawater that the plant takes up, allowing it to get the water it needs to survive, without the damaging salt. The prop roots also have openings that allow the tree to breath air.
Mangroves protect shorelines from damaging storm and hurricane winds, waves, and floods. Mangroves also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems. They maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land.
Manatee Swimming Next To Red Mangroves
Mangroves Support Threatened and Endangered Species
Nangroves gives shelter and protection to many animals, including many that are endangered. They also provide ideal breeding grounds for much of the world’s fish, shrimp, crabs, and other shellfish. Many fish species, such as barracuda, tarpon, and snook, find shelter among the mangrove roots as juveniles, head out to forage in the seagrass beds as they grow, and move into the open ocean as adults.