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Mustang Island is a 40 km long barrier island located between Corpus Christi and the Gulf of Mexico, south of St. Joseph's Island and connected to Padre Island on the south. The island was first named "Wild Horse Island," then "Mustang," because of the wild horses, called "Mestenos," brought to the island by the Spaniards in the 1800s.
Mustang Island is a coastal barrier island with a unique and complicated ecosystem, dependent upon sand dunes anchored by sparse mats of vegetation. The height of these dunes may reach 11 meters, though 5 - 6 meters is average. Located on the lower end of the island is the Mustang Island State Park, established in 1972. Park activities include camping, picnicking, fishing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, sunbathing, surfing, and excellent birding, especially during spring and fall migrations.
Nearest Largest City: Corpus Christi, Texas, USA
Area of Coverage: 160 km2
Width: 4.0 km
Length: 40.0 km
The vegetation holding the dunes in place is mostly composed of drought-resistant species such as sea oats, beach panic grass and soilbind morning glory. Rodents such as pocket gophers, spotted ground squirrels, grasshopper mice, rice rats and cotton rats, dominate the island animal community. Other small mammals include opossums, raccoons, striped skunks, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits and armadillos. Small populations of coyotes are present, as well. Large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds are common, as well as several species of hawks and a large variety of songbirds, most of which are migratory. An estimated 600 species of saltwater fish inhabit the waters along the coast.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). URL: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/mustang/
The Hand Book of Texas Online - Mustang Island. URL: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/MM/rrm7.html
Texas Parks & Wildlife - State Parks &Historic Sites, Mustang Island State Park
The Hand Book of Texas Online - Mustang Island
AllRefer.com - Mustang Island
Keywords: Barrier island, Dune, State park, Sea oat, Beach panic grass, Soilbind morning glory, Coyote, Fish, Hawk, Shorebird, Waterfowl bird, Mammal, Opossum, Raccoon, Striped skunk, Jackrabbit, Cottontail rabbit, Armadillo
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