Bocas del Toro-San Bastimentos Island-San Blas Mangroves Habitat
This taxon is found in the Mesoamerican Gulf-Caribbean mangroves ecoregion, but not necessarily exclusive to this region. The Bocas del Toro-San Bastimentos Island-San Blas mangroves is one of the ecoregions of Panama, situated on the Caribbean coast of northern Panama. Precipitation in this region, entirely in the form of rainfall, amounts to approximately 6000 mm per annum. This ecoregion is largely comprised of mangrove swamps and contains an extensive coral reef system that protects the mangroves by moderating ocean wave action; in turn the mangroves trap sediment and promote water clarity than enhance coral reef development. Extensive submerged areas of this ecoregion are considered seagrass meadows, a highly biodiverse marine ecosystem that has high primary productivity as well as considerable species richness In the shallower waters are found manatee along with numerous corals, sponges, pipefishes and baracuda. The deeper coastal waters are habitat for dolphins, most notably at Dolphin Bay, somewhat south of Bastimentos Island.
The dominant shoreline ecoregion feature is the presence of Red Mangrove trees, whose submerged roots stabilize the shoreline. The near coastal zone and low elevation upland areas of this ecorefion also support a host of other flora, as well as birds, mammals, amphibians and arthropods.
Birdlife at the coastal upland and rich coastal riparian zone and other near shore upland habitats is quite diverse. A notable terrestrial bird endemic to the Bocas del Toro region is the Brown Parakeet. Another notable bird found in this ecoregion is the Pale-billed woodpecker, Campephilus guatemalensis, a large bird, who is found at the southern limit of his range here. The White-fronted nunbird, Monasa morphoeus, is a near passerine species found at the moist lowland forest edge, including secondary growth. Another bird found here that is tolerant of degraded forest is the Crimson-fronted parakeet, Aratinga finschi. A specialist bird to the mangroves and also dense somewhat upland areas of Bocas is the Rufous-necked wood-rail, Aramides axillaris. The Bare-necked umbrella bird is normally found at the higher elevation margin of the Bocas area, but can often be found in the near coastal fringe in non-breeding season.
Mammalian species include the Collared-peccary, who may be found in mainland Bocas del Toro lowland moist forest or grasslands. Also found here is the critically endangered Pygmy three-toed sloth, Bradypus pygmaeus, whose extant population of no more than a few hundred animals is restricted to the tiny (3.4 km2) island of Isla Escudo de Veraguas. There are also Central American red brocket, Mazama temama, a species of forest deer widespead in Mesoamerica.
- Burton Le Roy Gordon. 1982. A Panama forest and shore: natural history and Amerindian culture in Bocas del Toro.
- C.Michael Hogan. 2013. "Bocas del Toro-San Bastimentos Island-San Blas". Encyclopedia of Earth, National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington DC ed.Mark McGinley