Lantau Eco-Tour: Route 3

Introduction of Tung Chung River

Tung Chung River is located on the north coast of Lantau Island. It is the only remaining riverine ecosystem that possess natural riverine, estuarine and river bed habitats. The natural coastline of Tung Chung River is characterized by ecologically important habitats including mudflats, mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrass bed. The seagrass bed at the nearby San Tau is even a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). However, with the increasing popularity of clam digging in Tung Chung River and Shui Hau, overwhelming human activities can disrupt the natural ecology of such coastal area.

Tung Chung River Habitat
Tung Chung River

Tung Chung River is an “Ecologically Important Stream” (EIS) and the second richest in freshwater species of any in Hong Kong, with a total of 23 species recorded, and listed as in AFCD.

Species in Tung Chung River
Beijiang thick-lipped barb (Scientific name: Acrossocheilus beijiangensis)

Beijiang thick-lipped barbs have a light yellowish body with 5-6 black vertical bars. They mainly inhabit in streams with rapid water flow and feed on benthic insects and small fishes. The Beiiang thick-lipped barb is considered as “Species of Conservation Concern” by AFCD and received global concern.

Seagrass bed

Seagrass beds are found in shallow, sheltered intertidal or subtidal areas and are habitats that have high biological productivity. They provide feeding and nursery grounds for many marine species. Four species of seagrasses have been recorded in Hong Kong which are oval halophila (Halophila ovata), Becar’s halophila (H. beccarii), widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima) and dwarf eel grass (Zostera japonica) and all co-occur with mangroves. In San Tau, mainly oval halophila and dwarf eel grass can be found.

 

Introduction of Sham Wat

Sham Wat is situated at the northwest coast of Lantau Island. It still maintains its rural style and has several types of habitats such as a bay, a boulder shore and a stream. The pristine environment has attracted different types of dragonflies, butterflies and freshwater fishes.

Sham Wat Habitat
Boulder shore

Semi-exposed and sheltered shores have a gentler gradient with less wave energy, therefore, boulders accumulate on the shore and form a boulder shore.

Species in the boulder shore of Sham Wat
Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs live in empty shells of gastropods such as snails. Their appearance resembles that of a crab and a lobster, intermediate between them. They are scavengers but also eat small marine animals and molluscs.

Stream

There is an “Ecologically Important Stream” (EIS) in Sham Wat where many species of conservation importance such as Japanese freshwater eel can be found.

Species in Stream of Sham Wat
Predaceous chub (Scientific name : Parazacco spilurus)

Predaceous chub is a common native freshwater fish species in Hong Kong. They live in groups and spend their whole life in a freshwater environment. Juvenile has a distinct line in the middle of its side of the body, covering from its operculum to its tail. Also, juvenile has a black spot at the base of the caudal fin. The line becomes irregular stripes in the adult and the black spot become less obvious. Due to over-catching, predaceous chub is now considered a vulnerable species in China.

 
 

Introduction of Tai O

Tai O is located on the west coast of Lantau Island. It was once a transportation hub connecting Hong Kong, Macau, the Pearl River Delta and neighbouring regions. In the past, the Pearl River Mouth and the nearby seas were rich in fish production, especially the yellow croaker. This unique location has made Tai O one of the four major fishing ports in Hong Kong. Moreover, Tai O has valuable natural habitats such as mangroves and reed forests, Chinese white dolphins are also spotted in the nearby waters.

Tai O Habitat
Tai Ho Mangroves

Tai O Saltpans is one of the few disused saltpans left in Hong Kong. Various native mangroves were planted in Tai O to compensate for the destruction caused by the construction of the new airport and development in North Lantau. Kandelia obovate, Aegiceras corniculatum, and Excoecaria agallocha can be found in Tai O. At present, a large area of mangrove has been established, supporting various wetland fauna such as fiddler crabs, mudskippers and wetland birds.

Species in Mangroves of Tai O
Bluespotted mudskipper (Scientific name: Boleophthalmus pectinirostris)

Bluespotted mudskipper is larger in size compared to other species of mudskippers in Hong Kong. It has bright blue spots all over its body. During low tide, the bluespotted mudskipper will forage by skipping on the mudflat with specialized pectoral fins. It mainly feeds on algae and organic debris.

Reed forest

Reed forest in Leung Uk is the second-largest in Hong Kong, providing food and habitat for many insects and birds. Reed can also filter pollutants and improve water quality. However, the reed forest in Leung Uk is owned by private, making it difficult to conserve. Construction projects and the dumping of construction waste have caused severe damage to the reed forest.