As expected, the fish found in Saeftinghe are mainly salt water species, although fresh water fish such as carp and perch do occur in the area. These freshwater species come into Saeftinghe via the River Scheldt, ending up in the brackish parts of the Western Scheldt and Saefthinge. The salt marsh is an important breeding ground for species as plaice, flounder and sea bass. The thousands of adult thicklip and thinlip mullets are spectacular, foraging in the creeks, and grazing on algae and seaweed. The most abundant fish in Saeftinghe is the common goby’: the favourite food of spoonbills and little egrets.
Picture on top of the page: Thinlip mullet
Due to the brackish nature of Saeftinghe’s creeks, significantly fewer molluscs are present compared to regular saline creek systems. Despite this, there are still dozens of species present, especially if you include the bordering edge of the Western Scheldt. These include mussels, Conrad's false mussel, Japanese oyster, cockles, Baltic clam, peppery furrow shell, soft shell clam, laver spire shell, periwinkle, swollen spire-shell and white furrow shell. Barnea candida grows on Saeftinghe’s peat mounds. The most abundant mollusc of all is probably the dun sentinel; growing to a maximum of 8mm, it has been calculated that they occur in densities of billions per hectare.
Soft Shell Clams or 'Sand Gapers'
Crabs and shrimps
The shore crab is by far the most common crab in Saeftinghe, although Liocarcinus holsatus, blue crab, estuarine mud crab and the Chinese mitten crab occur. Of the shrimps, three species have been identified: brown shrimp, common ditch shrimp and the common prawn.