January 23rd, 2012 marks the Year of Dragon on the Chinese calendar. In fact, it is the Year of the Water Dragon, which happens once every 60 years, when the water and dragon signs align.
Which is a pretty good reason, we think, to celebrate one of the seahorse's most beautiful and elusive relatives: the seadragon.
So named for its resemblance to the dragon of Chinese and European myth, the seadragon is found only off the southern coast of Australia. They are masters of camouflage. They can change colour and use their leafy, winglike appendages to disappear into their surroundings — rocky reefs, seagrass meadows, and seaweed beds, where they feed on tiny mysid shrimp and sea lice.
In honour of Chinese New Year, we bring you a series of features on seadragons, including an interview with one of our seadragon experts, Dr. Keith Martin-Smith, a photo gallery, and fun facts. Find out more about the two seadragon species, their unique courtship rituals, the threats they face, and approaches to their conservation.
And please share with your friends and family! The world needs to know more about these amazing animals.
Photo: Andrew Green/Guylian Seahorses of the World