Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle)
The Mangroves of Bonefish Hole
Around Bimini, the Red Mangrove is the most obvious and abundant of the four mangrove species found here. It is easily distinguished by the tangle of prop roots that support the tree, and the reddish color of the wood from which it's name comes from. Red mangroves inhabit the harshest of the inter-tidal mangrove habitats, often times establishing in areas that have constant salt-water exposure. The long prop roots of the Red mangroves serve several purposes, including anchoring the tree to the shoreline, increasing the gas exchange to underground roots, and stabilizing the substrate in which they stand.
Red mangroves dominate the southern shoreline of South Bimini, as well as the inner lagoons of North & East Bimini. The roots of the Red mangroves serve as refuge for an enormous amount of fish life, as they create a labyrinth for fish to hunt & hide in. A study conducted by the BBFS showed that the mangrove roots below the high-tide line had an average species density that was nearly 20 times that of nearby seagrass beds.
Schools of Bonefish (Albula vulpes) are a common sight scurrying through the prop roots, as well as young lemon sharks which often accompany the bonefish in their movements around Bimini. Above the water, the Red mangroves provide refuge for Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis), Egrets (Egretta spp.), and a plethora of other birds.
A Bimini Boa prowling
North & East Bimini are intersected by a web of natural creeks that run through the mangroves, and provide one of the most breath-taking attractions for sight-seers. East Bimini's famous "Healing Hole" is one of these creeks, and the Red mangroves that line the passage there create an unforgettable sight to those who venture to this mystical spring.