Dragons Down Under
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Leafy Sea Dragon (Phycodurus eques)|
Sea Dragons are arguably the most spectacular and mysterious of all ocean fish. Though close relatives of sea horses, sea dragons have larger bodies and leaf-like appendages which enable them to hide among floating seaweed or kelp beds. Sea dragons feed on larval fishes and amphipods, such as and small shrimp-like crustaceans called mysids ("sea lice"), sucking up their prey in their small mouths. Many of these amphipods feed on the red algae that thrives in the shade of the kelp forests where the sea dragons live.
As with their smaller common seahorse (and pipefish) cousins, the male sea dragon carries and incubates the eggs until they hatch. During mating the female deposits up to 250 eggs onto the "brood patch" on the underside of the male's tail. After about eight weeks, the brood hatches, but in nature only about 5 per cent of sea dragons survive to maturity (two years). A fully grown Leafy Sea Dragon grows to about 18 inches (45 cm).
Leafy Sea Dragons are very interesting to watch-- the leafy appendages are not used for movement. The body of a sea dragon scarcely appears to move at all. Steering and turning is through movement of tiny, translucent fins along the sides of the head (pectoral fins, visible above) and propulsion derives from the dorsal fins (along the spine). Their movement is as though an invisible hand were helping, causing them to glide and tumble in peculiar but graceful patterns in slow-motion. This movement appears to mimic the swaying movements of the seaweed and kelp. Only close observation reveals movement of an eye or tiny fins.
Most sources of information about sea dragons say they are found in the ocean waters of southern Western Australia, South Australia and further east along the coastline of Victoria province, Australia. Sea dragons are protected under Australian law, and their export is strictly regulated. The Leafy Sea Dragon is now completely protected in South Australia because demand for aquarium specimens threatened the species with extinction. Currently the specific law which protects them is called the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Source : www.divegallery.com/Leafy_Sea_Dragon.htm
This picture was taken at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay. In fact, a special export permit is required in order to display sea dragons. The Florida Aquarium in one of only a handful of aquariums and zoos in the world to exhibit these unique and beautiful creatures. These specimens are so sensitive to light that you can't take a picture of them using your flash and there is not that much light in the displayed aquarium they live in. So low shutter speed, combined with high ISO is required... No tripod was used also!!! So, yes, the picture may seems noisy.
Athila, TAZ, marhowie, livios, scottevers7, fireflyz has marked this note useful
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- [2005-11-16 0:10]
VERY NICE PICTURE STEPHAN !
For an aquarium picture, it is sharp and well exposed, considering the dark background. You also controled very well any reflection on the aquarium glass. How did you manage to avoid reflections? For a 1600 ISO, it is excellent, I'll never be able to do that with film.
Excellent shot and TFS.
- [2005-11-16 3:31]
Woooooow ! What a wonderful and interesting Sea dragon that you have very well captured ! I also appreciate the complementary note... Congratulations Stephan and thanks for sharing.
Outstanding image, great pose and nice colors. TFS, Stephan
Very cool shot Stephan..And ISO 1600!
What an interesting subject this. It's done very well against the black BG. A very interesting and complete note. Very well done!
- [2005-11-16 9:59]
Stephan, this is very nice. Thanks a lot for sharing.
Excellent contrast between the main subject and the background. I like composition too.
- [2005-11-16 12:11]
What an spectacular and mysterious creation you captured! Exellent gold colour in dark background looks great. Also good framing and interesing note.
WOW! a stunning capture on this Leafy Sea Dragon. Beautiful color, and sharp detail. That is really cool!
- [2005-11-17 2:52]
Great shot of this leafy sea dragon. The details are very sharp and the light is excellent. The black BG gives a good contrast. Well done and TFS. : )
incredible and beautiful fish! nice contrasting colors. Well done!