A master of disguise dances between the tides

By Nicki Johnson / HICN / Updated: 16:51,06-September-2021

As night falls, the mangrove forest comes alive. Mud Creepers and Crab-eating Frogs are hidden here and there, as well as a special group of sea slugs dancing slowly through the water... In Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Episode 6, we explore Hainan’s Dongzhai Harbor Mangrove Forest Nature Reserve, where we get a glimpse of several masters of disguise as well as a group of “dancing ladies”, all living right here between the tides.     

Screenshot from Between the Tides, Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Episode 6. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

Screenshot from Between the Tides, Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Episode 6. DISCOVERING MYSTERIES

In the morning, the tide rises, swamping the mudflat. The Pied Kingfisher enjoys the bounty brought by the rising waters. He hovers, then, spotting prey, dives.


At high tide, the short mangroves are already underwater with the leaves of the new sprouts floating in the salty water. Mature branches have well-developed support roots which hold them firm against the battering waves.

In the afternoon, the tide goes out, exposing the mudflats of the intertidal zone. Many of the local creatures stir to life. A Little Egret flies over the water, and the Sentinel Crab clan continue to squabble. As the sun sets, they settle down for the night. 

The moon rises, and so does the tide. Now, the mangrove forest floor is full of motion. The holes in the mangrove’s thick bark breathe in a steady flow of air to sustain the plant through the high tide.

The conical Mud Creeper is the same color as the bark of the mangrove tree he hides on. The Crab-eating Frog is also hiding here. Melting into their surroundings, they are all masters of disguise.



Here, there is also a special group of sea slugs living in the water below. These 5 millimeter long creatures live between the mangroves close to the shore of Dongzhai Harbor. They have two antennae on their heads, and two black spots for eyes. Their heads and sides are marked with eye-catching strips of white. 



These Sea Slugs are a species of mollusk that live in the intertidal zone. They can often be found in the puddles left behind when the tide goes out, but are basically impossible to spot in the muddy, moving waters that flood the mangrove forest at high tide. When the water is deep, they can wriggle quite a distance, migrating from one part of the mangrove forest to another. At low tide, they crawl slowly through the mud, gathering in groups in puddles shaded by the mangrove trees above.

They consume algae and the chloroplasts that remain in their bodies can be seen clearly, making them look like walking leaves. They can produce energy through photosynthesis and continue doing so for their whole lives.



These Sea Slugs are brightly colored and moving around in the water they look graceful and elegant, giving them the name “dancing ladies”.

Discovering Mysteries Season 2 started being broadcasted worldwide on August 2. The first part of Discovering Mysteries Season 2 focuses on the wetlands and the mangrove forest. Season 2 will have a total of 24 episodes, each running around 4 minutes. This season explores the mangrove forest, the wetlands, Baihualing, and the rainforests of Wuzhishan, as well as Jiaxi and the Exianling nature reserve.

This is Hainan: Discovering Mysteries is a short documentary series that shines a light on Hainan’s ecological and cultural geography. It reveals Hainan’s natural environment, focusing on nature, ecological protection, and scientific research, giving viewers a look inside the natural ecology of the Hainan Free Trade Port, the many plant and animal species native to the island, and the achievements of the national ecological culture pilot zone.

Open the New Hainan App, Hinews, or Nanguo Metropolis Daily, or the Hainan International Communication Network (https://www.hicn.cn/) to watch the sixth episode, Between the Tides!

Click the links to see more episodes of Discovering Mysteries:

Discovering Mysteries Season 2 Collection

Discovering Mysteries Season 1 Collection 

Producers: Guo Zhimin, Wu Bin, Han Chaoguang

Production Supervisor: Luo Jianli

Executive Supervisors: Hu Xufa, Lin Ying , Yu Weihui, Ao Kun

Filmmaker / Director: Li Xiaogang

Writers: Mi Hongxu, Li Xiaogang

Videography: Xu Wei, Liu Sunmou, Mi Hongshu, Zheng Ziyu, Li Xiaogang

Editors: Li Xiaogang, Xu Wei

Special Videography: Feng Erhui, Chen Zhengping, Luo Lixiang, Lü Shiyang

Narrator: Liu Yang

Print Media Design: Gong Yuming

Translator:Nicki Johnson

Jointly Produced by: The Hainan Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park Management Office and the Hainan Wild Plant & Animal Protection Management Office

With special thanks to: Hainan Pingtouge Culture Media Co. Ltd.

Jointly Produced by: New Hainan APP, Hainan International Media Center and Hinews

A production of: Nanguo Metropolis Daily



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