REFLECTION by Biripi Creator Michael Scarrott
The Gathang word for Sea Dragon is Gaarr baapinang, which translates to seaweed horse.
The Weedy Sea Dragon is related to the seahorse and pipefishes, and is found in the Australian coastal waters of the Eastern and Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean and the South Western Pacific Ocean.
This beautiful creature resides in rocky reefs, sea grass meadows and seaweed beds, where it’s distinctive weedy appearance provides extraordinary camouflage. They can grow to reach around 45cm.
Slow moving, they feed on crustaceans and zooplankton. Notably missing the prehensile tail that other seahorse species use as an anchor, these fishes instead make use of their weedy appendages to blend in to their surroundings and elegantly drift in the gentle sea currents.
These beautiful fishes have evolved with the Australian landscape over thousands of years and as with other seahorse species it is the male that cares for the brood. The female lays up to 120 eggs on the males underside where they are fertilised and protected for around a month before the tiny young emerge fully independent and ready to begin their own lives at sea.
The weedy sea dragon is an example of beauty and refinement.
The species has embraced change and a new way of living. No longer dependant on a tail anchor, it is set free to drift in the ocean current, with its adaptations making it effectively invisible. The graceful creature shows us that with support we can find courage to let go of what is no longer useful to us, embrace change, harness opportunities, and even discover new frontiers.
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