See if you can find all the stingrays that live in our Stingray Lagoon. Masters of disguise, the Southern Stingrays bury themselves in the sand for camouflage. Look for the hint of an eye or tip of a tail showing in the sand to discover them. Watch as these gentle, graceful creatures glide around the pool seeming to fly through the water. They often slap their “wings” against the wall of the pool hoping for a handout of fish. You are welcome at any time to stroke the rays carefully and feel the silkiness of their skin.
Part of the Stingray Lagoon is dedicated to a small red mangrove forest. Its seeds or propagules are unusual in that they germinate while still on the tree, sprouting seedlings that grow up to 30 cm (12 in) long. The seedlings are cigar-shaped and heavier at the root end than at the leafy end. Upon falling, they tend to plant themselves in the mud below the parent tree.
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.
Mangroves are also very valuable nursery areas for a wide variety of fish and invertebrates. Their destruction has an adverse effect on fisheries. Many have been dredged because people have considered them swampy areas not worthy of protection. Coral World’s marine operations staff has participated in mangrove restoration efforts with propagules from our man-made lagoon.