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Dragonsblood Tree

Pterocarpus officinalis Jacq.

Moist Pacific Coast Mangroves Habitat

provided by EOL authors

This taxon occurs in the Moist Pacific Coast mangroves, an ecoregion along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica with a considerable number of embayments that provide shelter from wind and waves, thus favouring mangrove establishment. Tidal fluctuations also directly influence the mangrove ecosystem health in this zone. The Moist Pacific Coast mangroves ecoregion has a mean tidal amplitude of three and one half metres,

Many of the streams and rivers, which help create this mangrove ecoregion, flow down from the Talamanca Mountain Range. Because of the resulting high mountain sediment loading, coral reefs are sparse along the Pacific coastal zone of Central America, and thus reef zones are chiefly found offshore near islands. In this region, coral reefs are associated with the mangroves at the Isla del Caño Biological Reserve, seventeen kilometres from the mainland coast near the Térraba-Sierpe Mangrove Reserve. The Térraba-Sierpe, found at the mouths of the Térraba and Sierpe Rivers, is considered a wetland of international importance.

Because of high moisture availability, the salinity gradient is more moderate than in the more northern ecoregion such as the Southern dry Pacific Coast ecoregion. Resulting mangrove vegetation is mixed with that of marshland species such as Dragonsblood Tree (Pterocarpus officinalis), Campnosperma panamensis, Guinea Bactris (Bactris guineensis), and is adjacent to Yolillo Palm (Raphia taedigera) swamp forest, which provides shelter for White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and Mantled Howler Monkeys (Alouatta palliata). Mangrove tree and shrub taxa include Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle),Mangle Caballero (R. harrisonii) R. racemosa (up to 45 metres in canopy height), Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans) and Mangle Salado (A. bicolor), a mangrove tree restricted to the Pacific coastline of Mesoamerica.

Two endemic birds listed by IUCN as threatened in conservation status are found in the mangroves of this ecoregion, one being the Mangrove Hummingbird (Amazilia boucardi EN), whose favourite flower is the Tea Mangrove (Pelliciera rhizophorae), the sole mangrove plantpollinated by a vertebrate. Another endemic avain species to the ecoregion is theYellow-billed Cotinga (Carpodectes antoniae EN).Other birds clearly associated with the mangrove habitat include Roseate Spoonbill (Ajaia ajaja), Gray-necked Wood Rail (Aramides cajanea), Rufous-necked Wood Rail (A. axillaris), Mangrove Black-hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus subtilis),Striated Heron (Butorides striata), Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata), Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius), American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus), Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona), Mangrove Cuckoo (Coccyzus minor), Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia), and Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus VU) among other avian taxa.

Mammals although not as numerous as birds, include species such as the Lowland Paca (Agouti paca), Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata), White-throated Capuchin (Cebus capucinus), Silky Anteater (Cyclopes didactylus), Central American Otter (Lontra longicaudis annectens), White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), feeds on leaves within A. bicolor and L. racemosa forests. Two raccoons: Northern Raccoon (Procyon lotor) and Crab-eating Raccoon (P. cancrivorus) can be found, both on the ground and in the canopy consuming crabs and mollusks. The Mexican Collared Anteater (Tamandua mexicana) is also found in the Moist Pacific Coast mangroves.

There are a number of amphibians in the ecoregion, including the anuran taxa: Almirante Robber Frog (Craugastor talamancae); Chiriqui Glass Frog (Cochranella pulverata); Forrer's Grass Frog (Lithobates forreri), who is found along the Pacific versant, and is at the southern limit of its range in this ecoregion. Example salamanders found in the ecoregion are the Colombian Worm Salamander (Oedipina parvipes) and the Gamboa Worm Salamander (Oedipina complex), a lowland organism that is found in the northern end of its range in the ecoregion. Reptiles including the Common Basilisk Lizard (Basiliscus basiliscus), Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor), American Crocodile (Crocodilus acutus), Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus), Black Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura similis) and Common Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) thrive in this mangrove ecoregion.

World Wildlife Fund & C. Michael Hogan
bibliographic citation
World Wildlife Fund & C. Michael Hogan. 2010. "Moist Pacific Coast mangroves". Encyclopedia of Earth, National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington DC ed.Mark McGinley. updated 2013
C. Michael Hogan (cmichaelhogan)
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EOL authors

Physical Description

provided by USDA PLANTS text
Perennial, Trees, Woody throughout, Nodules present, Stems erect or ascending, Stems greater than 2 m tall, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs glabrous or sparsely glabrate, Leaves alternate, Leaves petiolate, Stipules inconspicuous, absent, or caducous, Stipules green, triangulate to lanceolate or foliaceous, Stipules deciduous, Stipules free, Leaves compound, Leaves odd pinnate, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets alternate or subopposite, Leaflets 5-9, Leaves glabrous or nearly so, Leaves hairy on one or both surfaces, Inflorescence panicles, Inflorescence axillary, Inflorescence terminal, Inflorescence or flowers lax, declined or pendulous, Bracts very small, absent or caducous, Bracteoles present, Flowers zygomorphic, Calyx 5-lobed, Calyx glabrous, Petals separate, Corolla papilionaceous, Petals clawed, Petals orange or yellow, Petals bicolored or with red, purple or yellow streaks or spots, Banner petal suborbicular, broadly rounded, Wing petals narrow, oblanceolate to oblong, Wing petals auriculate, Keel tips obtuse or rounded, not beaked, Stamens 9-10, Stamens monadelphous, united below, Filaments glabrous, Style terete, Style persistent in fruit, Fruit a legume, Fruit stipitate, Fruit unilocular, Fruit indehiscent, Fruit orbicular to subglobose, Fruits winged, carinate, or samaroid, Fruit coriaceous or becoming woody, Fruit exserted from calyx, Fruit hairy, Fruit 1-seeded, Fruit 2-seeded, Fruit 3-10 seeded, Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, Seeds reniform, Seed surface smooth, Seeds olive, brown, or black.
Dr. David Bogler
Missouri Botanical Garden
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