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January 23, 2012

Enter the (Leafy Sea)Dragon

BY: Angela Pauly




Happy Chinese New Year! Today, millions around the world are celebrating as we enter the Year of the Dragon. What better way for us to celebrate in our blog than by introducing you to a real dragon?

If you live in (or have gone diving in) Western or South Australia, you may have been lucky enough to spot a Leafy seadragon hidden amidst sea grass and sea weed beds.  I first saw this awesome creature at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, in the United States. They have this incredible seahorse exhibit with species from around the world, some of which are so small you can barely see them!

The Leafy seadragon is actually a kin of the seahorse (they are in the same family Syngnathidae) and what’s so cool about them is the way their “leafy” appendages are used as camouflage.  However, it doesn’t use these extensions to propel itself, as it has a dorsal fin and a pectoral fin for that. This seadragon  is protected by the Australian government and is listed by the IUCN as being “near threatened”.

Here’s a video from the Monterey Bay Exhibit – take a look!

I’ve read that the Dragon (and hence this year) is the deliverer of good fortune. That’s good timing for us, since a lot of our work will come to a crucial head this year, and while we’ve got a great team, who doesn’t need a bit of luck?