The last few days have been hectic. I was trying to work on a final piece to send off to the Bologna Illustrators competition [5 pieces are needed] and i was initially stumped for a subject.
I decided i would enter the non-fiction competition this year since i have been producing a lot of natural history works recently. I decided that the overall theme would be aquatic creatures and since i already had a common octopus, angler fish, portuguese man o'war and an archer fish that only left one piece to decide on and finish.
I've lost track of how many i started and gave up on for one reason or other - i might go back to them later but for now they just didn't seem to work properly.
I ended up doing a weedy sea dragon -which are very strange creatures related to sea horses.
They are quite diverse in colouring and body shape and have strange appendages which mimic sea weeds and are used for camouflage.
Sea dragons are difficult to identify as male or female until they start to reproduce -and there is the same sort of sex reversal in sea dragons [weedy and leafy] as found in sea horses: the females lay eggs which are fertilised and then transferred to the male.
Male sea horses carry fertilised eggs in a special pouch until the baby sea horses hatch, male sea dragons carry the eggs on the underside of their tails.
Sea dragons have now been reared in captivity but they are still a mysterious creature, with lots of secrets still to be discovered.