When talking about dragons you would be forgiven if your first thought went to huge fire breathing creatures, or those that live on the island of Komodo. However, the dragons we find in Lembeh are slightly less intimidating. Lembeh Sea Dragons are incredibly small, often just a few mm in width and reaching a maximum length of around 3cm.
Despite having the name dragon they are not that similar to the Australian Weedy/Leafy Seadragons but are actually most closely related to pipefish and seahorses. Not much is known about these animals as they remained hidden and out of sight until very recently, only finally being discovered in 2006!
Due to their miniscule nature most people are just content in letting their dive guide look for them However, if you have the patience and spend the time looking yourself then you may just stumble upon one. Finding one of these creatures yourself definitely gives you bragging rights around the dinner table and some guests will never let their friends forget who found it first! (You know who you are!)
Unfortunately, due to our limited knowledge about the Lembeh Sea Dragon it makes it difficult to know exactly where to look for them. They have been sighted in the sand, among sea grass and swimming between bits of coral on the reef, they can seemingly be found anywhere they can wrap their tails around.
At first glance they look like a piece of white thread caught to the reef but on much closer examination you start to make out its features. Sometimes people don’t realise it’s an animal until they look through their camera lens! A magnifying glass certainly comes in handy in these situations.
Thanks to Guilhem for sharing his fantastic photo of the beast with us and to both his guide Ryan, and dive buddy Tom for being able to spot them in the first place.