Habitats of caladesi island

A view of the dense foliage at caladesi island.

The unique communities at Caladesi Island State Park begin offshore, where reefs formed by oysters can be seen during low tide. Large beds of manatee, shoal, and turtle grasses are the homes of many underwater creatures, who use the grass beds to find food and for shelter.

Caladesi Habitats

Back on land, sand dunes form just behind the popular beaches of the park. Various plant species, including beach elders and sea oats, grow on the dunes, their roots holding the sand in place and stabilizing the dunes. Other parts of the shoreline are dominated by forests of mangrove trees, whose prop roots hold the trees above water and provide baby crustaceans and fish with a place to hide from larger predators.

Gopher Tortoise

Further upland, cabbage palms and live oaks rise above smaller shrubs such as temperate wax myrtle in what is known as a maritime hammock habitat. This habitat is entwined with mesic flatwoods, in which slash pine trees tower high above saw palmettos, their pine needles covering the forest floor. Ospreys often nest in these woods, and below the trees gopher tortoises dig their long burrows.

Come see these unique communities at Caladesi Island State Park!