India’s mangrove ecosystems record a total of 3,111 faunal, or animal species. Among the classificatory faunal groups present in our mangrove ecosystems, the greatest diversity in species is predictably among insects and some invertebrate species. However, being a wet habitat, other than them, the most plentiful form of fauna are fishes and reptiles, followed by other water based animals including various species of amphibians, molluscs, crabs, prawns and lobsters. Numbers of bird species and other species of mammals however, are markedly lesser compared to other animal species.
Mangrove ecosystems act to provide the foundation species for other forms of life by providing mono-specific strands that regulate the dynamics of life in the ecosystem. These foundation species provide energy and nutrients, hydrology and food webs that eventually constitute the unique biodiversity of these ecosystems. Mangroves thus as a source for nutrients for faunal life and provide critical habitats for life to thrive.
* Corrigendum in response to Dr. B. Vignesh Kumar’s comment. The inadvertent error is regretted.