JBL Expedition 2015: California, South Seas & Australia

JBL Expedition 2015: California, South Seas & Australia

Mudskippers and Saltwater Crocodiles

During the trip along the coast from Port Douglas towards Cairns we stopped at a beautiful mangrove biotope. Quite soon we were finding lots of mudskippers (Periophthalmus) – they were all over the sand, on washed up coconuts and between the mangrove roots. The mudskippers live in small communities of a few larger and a lot of smaller animals. We didn’t experience any of the territorial conflicts you see in aquariums.

Unfortunately this was exactly the kind of biotope the saltwater crocodiles liked best. Mudskipper fans like us, standing on the shore, could easily have provided them with the perfect prey, because the water wasn’t always clear and we wouldn’t notice approaching crocodiles. Warning signs draw attention to the potential danger. Signs warning us about the deadly box jellyfish also hang here. In the critical months (October – April) the most dangerous spots for swimmers are where the rivers flow into the sea, because the box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri) develop their larval stage in the brackish freshwater.

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