Discover the rich marine life in the intertidal areas of Singapore, the coastal zone between the highest and lowest tidemarks. Due to Singapore’s semi-diurnal tides, plants and animals living in Singapore’s intertidal areas are exposed to the air twice a day. And the frequent immersion and emersion make intertidal areas one of the most stressful environments to live in. Habitats found in the intertidal zone include rocky shores, sandy beaches and seagrass meadows. Each habitat has its unique characteristics and is home to different kinds of animals.
Rocky shores consist of solid rocks and boulders. The Labrador rocky shore is the last remaining natural rocky shore on mainland Singapore. This 300 m stretch of rocky shore and the surrounding Labrador Park was designated as a Nature Reserve in 2002. Animals are found both on and under the rocks. The Pacific turban snail (Turbo bruneus) is commonly found attached to rocks while bristleworms and reef worms can be seen burrowing in the sand or under rocks.
The sandy beaches in Singapore are not devoid of life. You can find burrowing animals such as sand bubbler crabs and ghost crabs as well as other wildlife including sea stars, sand dollars and button snails on the beaches of Singapore. These crabs sift through the sand and feed on organic particles.
Seagrasses are flowering plants that play important roles in the marine environment. Apart from being a source of food for herbivores, seagrass meadows are nurseries for juvenile animals such as crabs, shrimps and fishes. The structural complexity of seagrasses makes seagrass meadows areas of rich marine biodiversity. There are a total of 12 species of seagrasses in Singapore, and their habitats can be found both on the northern and southern shores of the island. Animals associated with seagrass habitats include sea stars, sea horses, crabs, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and snails. TeamSeagrass, a group of volunteers, conducts frequent seagrass monitoring at six different locations – Chek Jawa, Pulau Semakau, Cyrene Reef, Sentosa, Labrador Beach and Tuas. The information collected is shared with Seagrass-Watch, an international monitoring programme for seagrasses.
Seagrass meadow of Cyrene Reef exposed during low tide.
Carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) at Merawang Beacon.
An intertidal area is a fragile habitat.
Download our intertidal infographic and learn what to do what you explore such areas.
Download our Secret Shores guide for more information.