Dreaming of Dragons
by Bob Goemans
Does the title of this article bring to mind the image of a flame breathing ‘dragon’ - or possibly those illustrated in Chinese lore? Maybe so, but where aquarists’ are concerned, the ‘dragons’ in myths and legends do exist, and they are found in the cool, 56 - 65°F (14 – 18°C) Southern and Western Australian waters. They, Seadragons, are in the Family Syngnathidae, as are other tube-shaped mouthed fish such as seahorses and pipefish. It is believed they evolved from a common ancestor with bass, cichlids, perches, and sticklebacks during the lower Tertiary Period about 45 million years ago. Presently, the family consists of about 215 species in 52 genera, with most found in marine environments, yet some are found in freshwater and brackish waters. All, in fact, belong in a group called Syngnathids, which means in Latin ‘fused jawed’ because of the interlocked plates that make up their tube-shaped mouths.
Where ‘Seadragons’ are concerned, there are two species of interest... For the rest of this article including its photos, which was written for TFH and printed in their May 2009 issue Click Here