No. 283

"Understanding, enjoying & caring for our oceans"

Next Meeting 21/11/01

The next meeting is the November General Meeting which will be held at the Conservation Centre, 120 Wakefield Street on Wednesday 21st November commencing at 7.30pm.

Our speaker will be the Hon Iain Evans MP, Minister for the Environment. This will be your opportunity to ask any questions which may be worrying you before the next State Election.


Local Marine Discovery Centre 3rd in National Reader’s Digest Environment Award

British marine Life Study Society -News

Seadragon Reference List

Fish Forever - Your Choice!




Christmas Celebration

The Annual Christmas celebratory Party will be held at Port Noarlunga with the Reefwatch Team.

It will be on the 16th December and we will meet up at 10.00am.

A dive will take place and any further details can be obtained by contacting Geoff Prince (Diving Officer) or Alex Gaut representing Reefwatch, on 8363 2394.



Local Marine Discovery Centre 3rd in National Reader’s Digest Environment Award

On Sunday 21st October Star of the Sea School’s Marine Discovery Centre(MDC) was recognised with a Highly Commended Award for its innovative environmental project. The ceremony was held at Taronga Park Zoo, Sydney and the Centre’s Project Officer, Tim Hoile, represented the school.

The Centre received a prize of $5000 to assist with its development.

The judges highlighted the fact that the Centre is currently booked for over 15 months in advance, the "Leafy Seadragon Marine Education Curriculum" packs developed by the Centre were distributed to every Primary School in South Australia and the 30 volunteers regularly assist with the project.

The School also received a "Water Hero" Award on Thursday 18th October which was presented by Minister for Water Resources Mr Mark Brindal MP.

I am personally extremely grateful to Philip and Margaret Hall, who are regular volunteers at the MDC as they always "have the children eating out of the palm of their hands" with their insightful marine life information.

Tim Hoile


British Marine Life Study Society - News

11 September 2001

My buddy counted 31 Triggerfish, Balistes capriscus, in the group I was photographing at a dive site called Stack Rocks, near Littlehaven, SW Wales and another pair of divers counted over 50 on a different part of the reef. Each year the Triggerfish gather around these reefs and stay for about a month before moving off. (Photo credit Robert Walker.)


Seadragon Reference List

- mlssa No.5036. 1157/127 compiled by Steve Reynolds

Following is a list of publications and articles containing information about seadragons. Most of the references are available from either the MLSSA library (mlssa Nos.) or the private collection of myself (Book Nos.). Those which are not are indicated by an *.

"Dragons Of The Deep" by Paul A. Zahl, National Geographic Vol.1, No.6 June 1978 - mlssa No.2129 (SD01) & Book01.

"Birth of a Leafy Sea-dragon" by Rudie Kuiter, Australian Geographic No.12 Oct-Dec 1988 - mlssa Nos.2129 (SD02) & 7030.

"Notes on parental care, hatching and raising of seadragons (Syngnathidae) by Rudie H. Kuiter (mlssa No.2114A). This article was published in MLSSA Journal (mlssa Nos.5019/20) No.2, August 1991. (The article was also published in French as "Note sur les soins parentaux, l’eclosion et l’elevage des Dragons de mer (Syngnathidae)" in Revue fr. Aquariol., 14 (1987), 4, 15 janvier 1988 (mlssa No.2114B) ).

"The South Australian Leafy Seadragon" by Paul Oaklands, MARIA Journal Vol.1 No.2, November 1979 - mlssa Nos.5019/20 & 2129 (SD03)

"Sea-Dragons (Phyllopteryx)" by Allan R. McCulloch, The Australian Museum Magazine Vol.1 No.8 April 1923 pp 231-2 - mlssa No.2129 (SD04).

"Indo-Pacific Pipefishes (Red Sea to the Americas)" by C.E. Dawson (1985) The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, USA pp 157-160 - mlssa No.2129 (SD05).

"Fishes Of Australia’s South Coast" pp 462-464 - mlssa No.2129 (SD06).

"Syngnathids:Profit And Loss" by Peter McGlone, Underwater Geographic No.40 July-August 1995 - mlssa No.2129 (SD07).

"Commonwealth Announce Review of Syngnathids Export Control Exemption" by Peter McGlone, "Waves", newsheet of the Marine & Coastal Community Network, Vol.2, No.4, Summer ‘95/’96 (mlssa Nos.7014 & 2129 (SD08).

"The Marine And Freshwater Fishes Of South Australia" by Scott, Glover & Southcott (1974) Govt. Printers SA (mlssa Nos.1008/9)

"Sea Fishes Of Southern Australia" by B. Hutchens & R. Swainston (1986) Swainston Publishing (Book03).

"Fishes and Shells of the Pacific World" by J.T. Nichols & P. Bartsch (1945) Macmillan Co. New York pp 100-101 (Book04).

"Nature Facts - Fishes" by Len Cacutt (1992) Bramley Books pp 44-45 (Book05).

"Australia Down Under" by Christine Deacon (1986) Doubleday Australia pp 166-169 (Book06).

*"Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia" by Rudie H. Kuiter (1993) Crawford House Press Pty Ltd.

*"Australian Marine Life" by GJ Edgar (1997), Reed Books.

"Discover Underwater Australia" by Neville Coleman (1994) National Book Distributors & Publishers Pty Ltd pages 18,21,116,141 (Book07).

"Australian Sea Fishes South of 30 degrees S" by Neville Coleman (1980) Doubleday Aust. Pty Ltd page 88 (mlssa No.1019).

Southern Regional Ripples, the South Australian insert to "Waves" (mlssa No.7014), the newsheet of the Marine & Coastal Community Network. Vol.2, No.3 (Oct.’95) introduces Dragon Search - a community-based survey of Seadragons in SA waters (by Tony Flaherty) (Also mlssa No.2129 (SD09) ). Vol.3, No.2 (Winter ‘96) Rod Connolly & Tony Flaherty’s article "Leafy Seadragon collecting: permitted?" (Also mlssa NO.2129 (SD10) ). Vol.5, No.4 (January 1999) "Seadragon Deaths Remain A Mystery" by Tony Flaherty and "Re-release Policy For Latest Leafy Seadragon Permits" by Tony Flaherty (the first article also features in "The Web" (mlssa No.3005) Vol.6, No.1 and both articles are also featured in "The Dragon’s Lair" (mlssa No.2043) Vol.3, No.2).

*"Seahorses: an Identification Guide to the World’s Species and their Conservation" by Lourie,SA., Vincent,ACJ. and Hall,HJ., published by Project Seahorse 1999. Includes details of seahorses and all their relatives including seadragons.

"Searching for seadragons - the enigma of southern waters" by Darrin Ratajczak, Wildlife Australia magazine, Autumn 1999, p.p. 12-16 (mlssa Nos.5037 & 7029)

*"Australian Scuba Diver" May/June 1999 issue features Leafy Seadragon photos in two articles (pages 18 & 36), David Muirhead’s collection.

*"Skin Diver" magazine June 1999 features an article by John Magor with photo of egg-bearing male Leafy on page 30, David Muirhead’s collection.

"The Australian Marine Conservation Society Bulletin" Vol.20, No.3, Autumn 1999 features articles on seahorses, Dragon Search and seadragons - mlssa NO.7011.

"Six sea dragons die in UK aquarium" DIVE magazine July 1999, P.15 - mlssa No.7026.

"Chasing the dragon", DIVE magazine Sept 1999, p.11, letter from David Turner re.above report - mlssa No.7026.

"the Wierd & the Wonderful" by Gavin Anderson, Diver magazine May 1999, p.p.70-71 - mlssa No.7026

"Knights of the Sea Realm" by Michael Aw, Geo Australasia Vol.21, No.4, Summer issue, Dec 1999-January 2000 - mlssa NO.7027

"Dragons of the Sea" by Tony Karacsonyi, Geo Australasia Vol.21, NO.4, Summer issue, Dec 1999-January 2000 - mlssa NO.7027.

"Ripper Rapid Bay" by Alex Wyschnja and Andrew Bowie, Sportdiving magazine, No.78, Feb/Mar 2000 - mlssa No.7028.

"Dragon Search", a file & information folder about the community-based survey of seadragons. Includes "The Dragon’s Lair", newsletter of the National Dragon Search Project - mlssa No.2043 A&B.

Dragon Search has a web site at <>.

Email copies of "The Dragon’s Lair" are also available on request. Email Jeremy Gramp, <>

Photographic Index of SA marine life (being compiled by our Society). Many marine species, including seadragons, feature on slides which can also be seen at our web page on the Internet <>.

(The Australian Marine Conservation Society Bulletin, Vol.20, No.3, Autumn 1999 (mlssa No.7011) contains an article by Tony Flaherty about Dragon Search & seadragons.)

The following articles were published in our Society’s journals and newsletters and some are now available at our web page on the Internet. Use the "Topic Index" to ascertain availability of these articles. Hard copies are kept in the MLSSA library:-

"The Leafy Seadragon" by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Journal No.2 August 1991.

"Seadragon Sightings" by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Journal No.2 August 1991.

"More On Seadragon Sightings" by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Journal No.5 December 1994.

"Seadragon Monitoring" by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Journal No.5 December 1994.

"Seadragon Monitoring" by Steve Reynolds, a series of articles from MLSSA Newsletters Nov.’94 to Apr.’95 - (Also mlssa No.2129 (SD12) ).

"Seadragon Sightings at Victor Harbor" by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Journal No.6, December 1995. (MLSSA Journal No.6, December 1995. (Journal includes an article by Steve Reynolds about Ghost Pipefish (page 15) which are sometimes referred to as ‘seadragons’.)

"Enquiry from NSW re. Seadragons" by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Newsletter No.221, April 1996.

"Dragon Search Update" by Tony Flaherty & Janine Baker, MLSSA Journal No.9, December 1998.

"Horse with tail of seaweed" by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Newsletter No.236, August 1997.

"More About Leafy Seadragons" by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Newsletter No.238, October 1997.

"Ichthyologists Make Mistakes Too" by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Newsletter No.238, October 1997.

"Seadragons" by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Newsletter No.212, June 1995.

"Identifying Seadragon Species" by Steve Reynolds, MLSSA Newsletter No.269, August 2000.

"Field Observations On An Egg-Bearing Male Weedy Seadragon 18/1/99" by David Muirhead, MLSSA Newsletter No.253, March 1999. This article also features in "The Dragon’s Lair" Vol.4, No.1, July 1999 (mlssa No. 2043B).

"Rapid Bay Seadragons future still murky" by Tony Flaherty, MLSSA Newsletter No.258, August 1999. This article also features in "The Dragon’s Lair" Vol.4, No.1, July 1999 (mlssa No. 2043B).

"Leafy Seadragon - SA’s new marine emblem", MLSSA Newsletter No.270, September 2000.

"SA Dragonsearch Database Update", MLSSA Newsletter No.270, September 2000.

"NSW Update" - "Syngnathids for Sale" & "False Pregnancies", MLSSA Newsletter No.270, September 2000.


I read our last Journal (No.11) with great interest and enjoyed all of the articles including the one by Alex about cuttles. I managed to check out the ‘Cuttlefish Capital’ website and was very impressed with the webpage. The cuttles at Whyalla featured on Channel 7’s "Discover" program on 30/1/01 and I was duly enthused. Three of Alex’s references were by Karina Hall from SARDI who was the guest speaker at our February meeting. I enjoyed her talk which featured overheads and slides. We also got to check out four cuttlefish slides from our Photo Index. There is an article about cephalopods in Sportdiving magazine’s Feb/Mar 01 issue (No.84). I am not sure of the title though. It could be "Fish & Critters", "Slick Armed Bandits" or "Cephalopods: lights, cameras, action!" Akos Lumnitzer is the author of the article which starts on page 89. Each page of the 3-page article features great colour photos.

Steve Reynolds




"Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest and of Harrison’s forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, brilliance and the absurd, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation and clockmaking. Through Dava Sobel’s consummate skill, Longitude will open a new window on our world for all who read it."

I’m hoping that you have all followed the recent BBC adaptation of this marvelous book, on the ABC. I have never had an interest in maritime history or horology, but this book is very readable and I highly recommend it if you have enjoyed the TV version. There is much historical detail available about the story of the four famous Harrison chronometers. And it was this great race to measure longitude through the use of a perfect timekeeper that first coined the term ‘chronometer’.

I have been so impressed by the story that I would very much like to make a special effort (the next time I’m in the UK) to see the clocks, now kept in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. I would also like to share a little of this fascinating story with you.

There are four Harrison chronometers, H1-4. H1 and H2 were the largest of his creations, as you may have seen on the BBC series, but Harrison refined his many innovative techniques to produce the beautiful masterpiece H4. Dava Sobel says "Though large for a pocket watch, at five inches in diameter, it is miniscule for a sea clock, and weighs only three pounds. Within its paired silver cases, a genteel white face shows off four fanciful repeats of a fruit-and-foliage motif drawn in black. These patterns ring the dial of Roman numeral hours and Arabic seconds, where three blue-steel hands point unerringly to the correct time. The Watch, as it soon came to be known, embodied the essence of elegance and exactitude."

Harrison grew up as an apprentice carpenter to his father. How his fascination with clocks began is something of a mystery, but one of his first timekeepers was a wooden clock. He was able to overcome the problem of friction and lubrication, by using special woods that were self-lubricating. During the first few years of his experimenting with horology Harrison invented several new devices, some of which are still in use today. Over forty years he became more of a mechanic than carpenter.

One of the major problems facing horologists in the 18th century was that of temperature affecting the metals inside clocks and watches and hence making them grossly inaccurate at sea. Harrison refined the understanding of how temperature affected different metals and used that knowledge to build compensating systems inside the Watch.

He was also a fine craftsman: "… among the spinning wheels, diamonds and rubies do battle against friction. These tiny jewels, exquisitely cut, take over the work that was relegated to antifriction wheels and mechanical grasshoppers in all of Harrison’s big clocks.

How he came to master the jewelling of his Watch remains one of the most tantalizing secrets of H4. Harrison’s description of the Watch simply states that "The pallets are diamonds." No explanation follows as to why he chose this material, or by what technique he shaped the gems into their crucial configuration."

There were many battles during Harrison’s lifetime between the astronomers and the horologists, for the coveted £20,000 prize, the winner of which was to be decided by the Board of Longitude, established under the Longitude Act in 1714. The Board consisted of scientists, naval officers and government officials. The fact that the British government was willing to award such huge sums for a practical and useful method of measuring longitude expresses the nation’s desperation over navigation’s sorry history.

I don’t wish to go into more detail, but merely provide you with a tantalizing glimpse into the history of probably the most important timepiece ever created. Curators at the National Maritime Museum do not allow H4 to run, arguing that it "enjoys something of the status of a sacred relic or a priceless work of art that must be preserved for prosperity. To run it would be to ruin it."

Alex Gaut




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