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Fish #172 Common Dragonet Callionymus lyra ~ Wayne Prosper
Oil pastel 30 x 42 cm
The common dragonet, Callionymus lyra, is widely distributed in and around the seas of the UK, Europe and the coast of Africa. It feeds on a wide range of small crustaceans and marine worms, although they will alter their behaviour to feed on whichever food source is the most abundant. The fish has an elongated, scaleless eel-like body and flattened head. Eyes are located on the top of the head and the mouth is relatively large. In mature males the first dorsal fin is high and triangular and is often described as looking like a ship's sail. Females and immature males have much smaller fins. Males can grow to a length of 30 centimetres (12 in) while the females can reach a length of 25 centimetres (9.8 in). They can be found at depths from 5 to 430 metres (16 to 1,400 ft) however they are mostly found at depths of no more than 30 metres (100 ft). This fish is not currently an endangered species.
There are almost two hundred species of dragonet across the world, with many of these fish living in tropical waters and being extremely brightly coloured. The common dragonet is the most common species of dragonet in UK waters and while the females are dull in colour, the males can give their tropical counterparts a run for their money in the colour stakes during the breeding season, with oranage, yellow and streaks of blue making them an extremely colourful fish. The male displays these bright colours to attract a female and they are known to mimic each other's swimming pattern prior to mating too - this is called their 'mating dance'.
This picture was inspired by a photograph taken by Kåre Telne and caught my eye because of its striking colours and by the obvious fact that it does indeed resemble a mythical dragon when its fins are fully extended. The picture was painted with oil pastels.
My work, just like the ethos of #200Fish, is to highlight the beauty and indeed the fragility of our environment. I love all things sentient and by painting wildlife in their most basic and bare form, with no background I hope that more people will come to realise just how important it is for us as humans to stop destroying wildlife and habitats which for no other reason appears to be for greed, vanity and want of possession.
"We all spin on this planet in the same unchanging direction and our time here is precious. So why don't we all agree to protect habitats, protect life and in so doing, protect our planet because if we don't then we are surely destroying ourselves."
Fish #172 Common Dragonet Callionymus lyra ~ Lesley Morris
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