Today marks the start of the Chinese New Year. The Chinese zodiac is made up of a cycle of twelve years, with each year represented by a different animal, and this year sees the wise and powerful dragon take center stage.
To welcome in the New Year we thought we should celebrate all things, fiery, legendary and mystical by revealing some of the dragons lurking in ARKive.
A creature out of the flames
While it may not actually breathe fire, the Komodo dragon’s long, forked tongue resembles that of its mythical namesake.
One of only two species of seadragon, the weedy seadragon is actually related to seahorses and pipefish. These colourful creatures are unusual in that, in common with seahorses, it is the male of the species that cares for the developing eggs, carrying them in a 'brood patch' under his tail.
A little smaller than the dragons of folklore, the golden-ringed dragonfly is certainly no less beautiful, with its eye-catching bright yellow pattern. It is also a fearsome predator, tackling prey such as damselflies, wasps, beetles and bumblebees.
A tree of legends
Like its namesake, the beautiful dragon tree also has mythical origins. It is said that after Landon the hundred-headed dragon was slain by Hercules, his blood flowed out over the land and began to sprout these ‘dragon’ trees, which also exude a red sap known as ‘dragon’s blood’ when cut.
Also known as the frilled dragon, the quirky frilled lizard expands its large ruff of skin around its neck to communicate with other members of its species, as well as to deter potential predators.
Mysterious mini marvels
The aptly named mini dragon loach is a small but beautiful species found in just a handful of freshwater streams in Thailand. Reportedly growing to just five centimetres, this diminutive fish is sadly thought to be under threat from collection for the aquarium trade.
Wish your friends, family and colleagues a Happy Chinese New Year by sending one of our Komodo dragon e-cards.
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Lynn, thank you for these beautiful posts!
A GOOD TIME TO RETURN TO THE SEA,WHICH I HOPE TO BE.....VERY SOON
Interesting, isn't it? You're very welcome, Jenny.
... AWESOME DRAGON PICTURES FULL OF BEAUTIFUL COLOURS LYNN
THINK A AWREADY MENTIONED THAT MA FAVOURITE DRAGON IS PURPLE AND CALLED SPYRO!
HOPE YE GET YER WISH SIOUXZ, A LOVE WALKING ALONG A BEACH AND LISTENING TO THE SEA WAVES! GUID KARMA
ALSO HOPE FYRE IS RECOVERING WELL AND SOON RUNNING AGAIN!
Gung Hay Fat Choy !!! Fruddy-Buddys. You know that Komodo Dragon is as old as dinasaurs ? His Saliva is Toxic so step back before he spits on you.
Nae probs Vinnie, al save ye ....naebody messes wi ma fruddy buddys ..al be too fast fur that Komodo, al hit him so fast and so many times he'll think he's surrounded.. surrender you komodo you!! or al spit in yer eye...ye dinnae want tae get me angry!!(oops!! talkin of dinasaurs, forgot am no as young as a used tae be!)
Ok girls, am right behind ye!!!...... if only a didnae huv tae go fur ma afternoon nap!
Wow you guys, what fantastic pics!!! Don't worry Iain, we'll take care of that nasty Komodo while you take that nap & build up your strength again. Was Robbie Burns born on Gung Hay Fat Choy? What a day for celebrating!!
Oh, Iain I'm swooning. You're such a big, handsome hero for us widdle fruddies. I'm so happy that you're here to defend us against spit. I hope you feel strong again after your nap, dear boy!
Great looking dragon pictures, Jenny. Thanks for posting them.
Take care, my little fruddie buddies.
OKI-DOKI, that's me awake noo! Did yees manage tae sort oot that spittin dragon Wendy?... A widuv, but a need aw the beauty sleep a kin get!
big handsome hero eh Lynn!! Here, these are fur you widdle fruddy buddy but you keep swooning, dear girl!
......Gung Hay Fat Choy!!!...sorry NGAFC.. al need tae google it!
tae aw fruddies and fur critter buddies annaw.
your message from martian to english,Iain
you the man,so get that nap,and then put your superhero costume back onbecause we ladies need your strength, and ogre qualities.
because the dragon is a strong,hard to beat super being,according to the chinese Their most revered animal spirit.
SORRY SIOUXZ, WOULD YOU RATHER I TYPE PROPER ENGLISH?
love the brogue,just trying to be funny.
maybe my smartass needs a spanking,sorry....
Iain, you're up from your nap and I'm revived from my swoon, dear boy, so you can continue watching over us fruddilies and I promise not to pass out, again. lol
Siouxz, you're so funny trying to translate Iain's brogue into "proper" english. But stop it, or I'll spank you with a cooked piece of pasta.
Now, if you're all really good, I'll let you join me and this little dragon in an ice cream sundae. But if you're bad....there's always the komodo dragon to worry about!!
Yes Iain, my spit proved more deadly than that watered down Komodo stuff!! We can all come come out now & help Lynn & her cute little dragons slurp up some of that sundae. Yes Siouxz, when I have a little trouble with Iain's brogue, I pretend that I'm watching Mel Gibson in Braveheart & I can figure it out. (He was hot in it). Be careful the next time you swoon Lynn. We are at that osteoporosis stage. Make sure there's something soft to land on!! Jenny, is that the new you!! At first I thought, huh? I can be such a moron?? Later my lil' fruddies!!
Oh Iain making us ole gals swoon, well at least we have our Knight in Shining Armour. . No Souxz, don't worry, Iain knew you were kidding. Wendy your *spit* was worse than that Kamodo? Wow !! You're Toxic. Yes, I just noticed that Jenny changed her Avatar and Name. Too sleepy now to check it out or else someone else snuck into our little group. Goodnight from me and Dottie who had a Doctor appt. today and got her nails cut and a check-up. Just getting old otherwise o.k.? Glad Fyre is feeling better too. xoxo
I've been a very good girl. And since I don't eat Fruit, this is my chance to eat some in that Banana Split. ha, ha, ha. Oh Siouxz, so you want a "spanking" ? . LOL.
I love those cute dragons, Lynn!
just realized your avatar played alice in the 3d version with johnny depp.(alice in wonderland)
just happened to have watched it the other day...
want a spanking?not really,it's just that
everybody likes a little ass,now and then,but nobody likes a little smart ass..
is what I've been told...
I'll take the wet noodle lashing.
that's you ,jenny?
when did the metamorphosis happen?
did you become a knight to wrestle the dragon?
very interesting change of,well, everything aesthetic
but the sweet person remains the same.
Flippin heck!! a posted yesterday and that komodo mustuv ate it!
Vinnie's right Siouxz, a wiz jist kiddin .. me type proper English..nae chance
A think a deserve a guid spankin fur bein a bad boy (a cooked piece of pasta Lynn!!) then a could cool masell doon wi some of that scrumptious ice cream!
No much time. am gawn dragon hunting!!
fruddie hugs tae aw
Halloooo, Jenny....is that you? Who would'a thunk!! lol I had no idea until I saw the other comments about you changing your name and avatar. Can you share with us why you changed it? Is it your real name? I'm very inquisitive (or curious..or some people might say, just plain nosy!!!!) But I'm really interested, little fruddie. So "spit" it out!
Yes, Lynn, you are nosy but I hope you saved me a piece of banana. You guys are a Hoot !! I was just going to bed but decided to check it out here and had a good laugh.Yes Jenny *spit* it out. Give us the Lowdown.. BTW...Have you checked out the new Frog Post and Ach. & Mile. Part 3.? There's 3 new Good news stories. Goodnight Fruddies.
Dragons are usually shown in modern times with a body like a huge lizard, or a snake with two pairs of lizard-type legs, and able to emit fire from their mouths. The European dragon has bat-type wings growing from its back. A dragon-like creature with no front legs is known as a wyvern. Following discovery of how pterosaurs walked on the ground, some dragons have been portrayed without front legs and using the wings as front legs pterosaur-fashion when on the ground.
Although dragons occur in many legends around the world, different cultures have varying stories about monsters that have been grouped together under the dragon label. Some dragons are said to breathe fire or to be poisonous, such as in the Old English poem Beowulf. They are commonly portrayed as serpentine or reptilian, hatching from eggs and possessing typically scaly or feathered bodies. They are sometimes portrayed as having especially large eyes or watching treasure very diligently, a feature that is the origin of the word dragon (Greek drakeîn meaning "to see clearly"). Some myths portray them with a row of dorsal spines. European dragons are more often winged, while Chinese dragons resemble large snakes. Dragons can have a variable number of legs: none, two, four, or more when it comes to early European literature.
Dragons are often held to have major spiritual significance in various religions and cultures around the world. In many Asian cultures dragons were, and in some cultures still are, revered as representative of the primal forces of nature, religion and the universe. They are associated with wisdom—often said to be wiser than humans—and longevity. They are commonly said to possess some form of magic or other supernatural power, and are often associated with wells, rain, and rivers. In some cultures, they are also said to be capable of human speech. In some traditions dragons are said to have taught humans to talk.
The term dragoon, for infantry that moved around on horseback yet still fought as foot soldiers, is derived from their early firearm, the "dragon", a wide-bore musket that spat flame when it fired, and was thus named for the mythical creature.
Origin and etymology
Dragon head on a roof of a temple in Taiwan
Origin and etymology
The word dragon entered the English language in the early 13th century from Old French dragon, which in turn comes from Latin draconem (nominative draco) meaning "huge serpent, dragon," from the Greek word δράκων, drakon (genitive drakontos, δράκοντο&sigmaf "serpent, giant seafish", which is believed to have come from an earlier stem drak-, a stem of derkesthai, "to see clearly," from Proto-Indo-European derk- "to see" or "the one with the (deadly) glance." The Greek and Latin term referred to any great serpent, not necessarily mythological, and this usage was also current in English up to the 18th century.
The association of the serpent with a monstrous opponent overcome by a heroic deity has its roots in the mythology of the Ancient Near East, including Canaanite (Hebrew, Ugaritic), Hittite and Mesopotamian. The Chaoskampf motif entered Greek mythology and ultimately Christian mythology, although the serpent motif may already be part of prehistoric Indo-European mythology as well, based on comparative evidence of Indic and Germanic material. It has been speculated that accounts of spitting cobras may be the origin of the myths of fire-breathing dragons.
In China, depiction of the dragon (traditional:龍;simplified:龙 can be found in artifacts from the Shang and Zhou dynasties with examples dating back to the 16th century BC. Archaeologist Zhōu Chong-Fa believes that the Chinese word for dragon is an onomatopoeia of the sound thunder makes. The Chinese name for dragon is pronounced "lóng" in Mandarin Chinese or "lùhng" in the Cantonese. Sometime after the 9th century AD, Japan adopted the Chinese dragon through the spread of Buddhism. Although the indigenous name for a dragon in Japanese is tatsu (たつ?), a few of the Japanese words for dragon stem from the Chinese word for dragon, namely, "ryū" (りゅう?) or "ryō" (りょう?) (traditional:龍;simplified:竜. The Vietnamese word for dragon is "rồng" (hán tự:龍 and the Korean word for dragon is "ryong" (hangul:용 (hanja:龍.
Big hugs Vinnie and Dottie, Lynn, Ian, Danuta, Thubten, Tasunka, Wendy and everyone. This is my favorite group!
Have a fantastic year of the dragon!
This post was modified from its original form on 07 Feb, 22:09
Wow Martina, what an interesting article! The dragons are very cool too. I like to read fantasy books & dragons play a large part in the books of many. Quite often the dragons are "good" & get along well with people. Thanx again!!!
Hola, Martine! Thank you so much for the gorgeous picture of the dragons in a heart shape and for the story that went with it. Too bad the Chinese don't celebrate Valentine's Day. That would be the perfect picture for it. lol
Muchos abrazos y besos!!
I'm really happy to read your messages, Wendy and Lynn. Many thanks for you and for Ian for the green star.
Big hugs for all of you,
thanks for the add.
Dragons are known for strength and power,in the Chinese zodiac...
I hope that the fact that fyre's kennel name is Draco will give him the strength to get better.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY FRUDDIES...YOU ALL FILL MY HEART WITH LOVE.
Siouxz, my little fruddie, you are so sweet! Is Fyre doing any better, at all? Mandy and I hope that he gets all better very, very soon. Go, Draco!
To kind of go with Martine's dragon "heart", I have a picture of swans in the same pose. Happy Valentine's Day, my wonderful fruddies. Love from my heart to all of yours.
I actually know the artist. She lives in the British Virgins...
Fyre isn't out of the woods,yet...fever has been down,but he has an established limp,and we can't figure out why. Whenever he feels better ,he runs around,and then has to pay for it later. Yesterday he ran out of the house,when an installer was here,had to catch him down by the wash (dried rivervbed)....he's paying for it ,this morning.
Thanks for all the concern....WE LOVE YOU,FRUDDIES.
SEAHORSES ,LOL THE MALE GETS PREGNANT...
Jist a flyin visit....
Male gets pregnant!! .. we could probly dae it, nae problemo!
And aye Siouxz, a hope Fyre is improving
That dragon picture is beautiful Martina and loads of interesting info on mythology
Better go while a kin still fly..toodle doo fruddies