Tag Archives: Australia

Author Reads “Sea Horse, run!” on YouTube

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“Sea Horse, run!” is now the featured video on my YouTube Channel. Watch and listen as I read the story.

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Bubble Coral

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Photo by Tammy Carter Bronson, October 2010

The common name ‘Bubble Coral’ may bring to mind an image of a soft, pliable animal, but bubble coral is actually a reef-builder known as a true, hard coral. The polyps or tiny animals that make up this colony have twelve or more legs. Bubble corals are often found in deep water near the base of a reef which is why specimens in aquariums require a gentle water current and low light. The coral skeleton is protected during the day by the inflatable ‘bubbles.’ At night the bubbles retract allowing the tentacles to emerge and hunt for food. This coral can be aggressive. If threatened by another coral, the tentacles will sting and kill its rival. Bubble corals are native to the Indo-Pacific region including the waters around Australia, the Indian Ocean, and Red Sea. Captive specimens are fairly hardy and relatively easy to care for. Combine this with it’s intriguing appearance, and its no wonder bubble corals are popular in aquariums.

More Information:

How to Keep Bubble Coral

Bubble Coral

Art © 2011 by Tammy Carter Bronson

Click on a question or link below to learn more about corals:

What is a coral polyp?

How do polyps eat?

Do coral polyps have eyes?

Why are corals important to sea horses?

How are corals named?
This page includes a complete chart of every coral in “Sea Horse, run!”. The chart shows how corals are classified in relation to one another. An individual coral may have more than one common name.

Additional Names for Bubble Coral include Grape Coral and Pearl Coral.

Weedy Sea Dragons

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Weedy Sea Dragon

Art © 2011 by Tammy Carter Bronson

Weedy Sea Dragons are widespread along Australia’s southern coast from Sydney on the east coast to the Perth region in the west. They are especially abundant in shallow, weedy areas, but “Weedies” have even been found as far south as the southern tip of Tasmania. Their color and leafy appendages vary depending on their environment and diet. Weedies can grow to one and a half feet in length, and specimens in captivity can live well over ten years.

The mating season for the Weedy Sea Dragon begins around October or November which is Spring in Australia. Following an elaborate mating dance, a female will lay her eggs on the underside of the male’s tail. The male Weedy carries 250 to 300 eggs under his tail, and the eggs hatch in about two months. The following BBC video shows the mating ritual of a pair of Weedies in their natural habitat.

Weedies are almost fully grown after one year. If the tanks are deep enough, this species will breed in captivity; as a result, Weedies are becoming more common in aquariums. Most specimens found in aquariums were tank-raised in Victoria. Wild adults do not adapt well to captivity and are likely to die after capture, whereas young, tank-raised specimens easily survive transport.

Sea dragons are classified in the family Syngnathidae (pronounced sin-NATH-ih-dee). Every animal in this family is a fish. Syngnathdae is Greek for “fused jaws” because the mouths of fish in this family do not open or close. About 330 species of Syngnathidae have been classified. At least thirty-seven species are sea horses, three species are sea dragons (leafy, weedy and ribboned), and the rest are pipehorses or pipefishes.

Weedy Dragon from http://www.abc.net.au

The vast array of brilliant colors (red, yellow, orange, blue, violet) combined with the lines and dots often exhibited by this species make the Weedy Sea Dragon a candidate for the “Rainbow Serpent,” one of the most revered ancestral spirits of Aboriginal folklore.

Example of Aboriginal Art

Recommended Reading:

Seahorses, Pipefishes, and Their Relatives: A Comprehensive Guide to Syngnathiformes by Rudie H. Kuiter.
Copyright 2000, Revised 2003. Published TMC Publishing, Choleywood, United Kingdom.

Ribbon

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My latest video demonstrates how I created my character, Ribbon, for “Sea Horse, run!”. It takes 6 minutes to view, but it’s worth it. You’ll see real ribboned sea dragons at the Minnesota Aquarium as well as the step-by-step process I use to draw, paint, cut out, and design a character for the book. As an added bonus, I’ll show you exactly where I hid Ribbon on every page in the story.

Ribbon is a ribboned sea dragon. Specimens are usually greenish-yellow like the sea grasses they hide in. Ribboned sea dragons are found in waters northwest of Australia. They can grow to be about one foot in length. Ribboned sea dragons are more tropical than their southern relatives, the leafy and weedy sea dragons.

     Weedy Sea Dragon     

Sea dragons are classified in the family Syngnathidae (pronounced sin-NATH-ih-dee). Every animal in this family is a fish. Syngnathdae is Greek for “fused jaws” because the mouths of fish in this family do not open or close. About 330 species of Syngnathidae have been classified. At least thirty-seven species are sea horses, three species are sea dragons, and the rest are pipehorses or pipefishes.

Coral Names

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How are corals named?

Most corals have many names. A coral’s proper name comes from the genus and species they belong to. The official name of Blue Coral is Heliopora coerulea. A coral’s proper name is hard to remember and pronounce, so coral colonies are given nicknames that describe the shape of the colony. Brain Coral is a nickname, but coral nicknames can also be confusing because some corals have more than one nickname. For example, Chalice Coral is also called ‘Lettuce Coral’ when it is covered in green algae.

Blue Corals     Brain Coral     Lettace Coral

The coral classification chart below shows some of the corals found near reefs in Australia. Hard corals are highlighted in red and soft corals are highlighted in green. Because hard polyps create coral reefs, most of the corals in “SEA HORSE, RUN!” are hard corals.

Coral Classification Chart

Click on a question or link below to learn more about corals:

What is a coral polyp?

How do polyps eat?

How are corals named?

Why are corals important to sea horses?

Do coral polyps have eyes?