BTN- Weedy Sea Dragon

KEY!

Green- facts

Blue-questions

Red-understanding

 

This is the link to this week’s BTN http://www.abc.net.au/btn/story/s4671270.htm

Only 15 Km from Sydney is dragon territory were the dragons nest he scientific name for this sea dragon is Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, ring any bells. Jump in the water and looking in the coral reef you might just sea one floating amongst the seaweed. Weedy Sea dragons are native to Australia and can be mostly found in the waters of the south east coasts of Australia. They’re related to the sea horse, and mostly just drift around in the water, and it just blends in with kelp around it. The problem is these colourful creatures are becoming harder and harder to spot, and not just because of their clever camouflage. Size: Adults of this species are approximately 45 cm long. Colour: Their red bodies are with purple and yellow marks. The Males are darker in colour than the females. Body: The narrow bodies of these Sea dragons have numerous leaf-like appendages and short dorsal spines. The appendages give them a weed-like appearance. Male Weedy Sea Dragons are more slender than the females. Snouts: They have long tube-like snouts. Fins: A long dorsal fin runs along its back while there are two pectoral fins on both sides of the neck. Tails: These Sea dragons have long tails. The males have a brooding pouch located under their tails. JOHN TURNBULL, RESEARCHER: This is the best site in Sydney so you can still see them here reliably. Other sites – particularly on the north side of Sydney where they used to be a common occurrence, now you’re lucky to find one, and sometimes you find none. Luckily, marine biologists have a plan to work out how many dragons are left. Instead of catching and tagging every sea dragon they find, they’re asking citizen scientist divers off the coasts of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania to take photos of the creatures and send them in. The researchers are then using a kind of facial recognition software to identify each fish’s’ unique patterns! Their program allows them to map out the markings of the sea dragon and it becomes a special fingerprint to track it. Every time they find a new one they use common sense and logic to give it an appropriate name.  And it will tell us if it’s David or Greg or Alicia. Because every single new sea dragon we have gets a name so we can follow it over the years. Weedy sea dragons are classified as ‘near threatened’, but scientists reckon this research could provide enough info to have them re-listed as ‘endangered’. They reckon climate change could be a big part of the problem for the sea dragons. They say rising sea temperatures are killing the kelp which leaves them homeless. Once there gone there gone, and once we lose we lose them forever. And with the impact we’ve done that will be really sad. They’re asking divers to keep sending in their photos so they can make sure there are more little David’s, Greg’s or Alicia’s swimming around Australia in the future. And we have to remember their only one of two sea dragon species.

I know understand how our existence has impacted how much they have been found. It’s seems like their very little adaptations so they can’t camouflage. We’ve been paying attention to animals that aren’t native to our Australia so I think we should pay more attention to that. I also understand that they use a special genetic pattern to track them. And they name them.

 

Why do they name them with simple names?

How many are left?

What types of animals are related to it?

 

 

 

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