Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Real-Life Dragons’

Wyrmflight Here it is, the cover for Wyrmflight: A Hoard of Dragon Lore! Thanks so much to everyone who offered feedback. I think I was able to combine ideas pretty well.

Now, the back cover matter:

DO YOU LOVE DRAGONS? (I KNEW YOU WOULD SAY YES!)

Then let me tell you about my blog…

Since 2012, Wyrmflight is the blog for everyone who loves dragons. I’ve had so much fun researching and writing about them, I decided to assemble my favorite posts. It’s a true hoard of dragon lore. (Get it?)

Here you’ll find the great dragons of mythology and folklore from around the world. Discover fascinating true stories about real dragons. (There are more of them than you think!) Plus a few reviews, jokes and poems about dragons.

So come into the dragon’s lair! (If you dare…)

What do you think? (Are there too many parentheticals?) As before, your insights and suggestions are most welcome.

Much tweaking remains to be done, but I’m hoping to get this out within the next week or so. That will allow me to focus on my next pressing assignment, the programming schedule for SpoCon.


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

Read Full Post »

Many kinds of creatures have been named after dragons, but perhaps the most colorful are the Dragon millipedes. Desmoxytes are a family of nearly 40 arthropods found in Southeast Asia. The first of these were identified in China in 1923. New species continue to be found as recently as 2016. In addition to China, they live in Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and scattered through the islands of Malaysia.

Some of this Dragon clan are cave dwellers, while others roam the leaf-litter of jungle floors. It sounds as though they might be fierce predators, but actually most millipedes feed on decaying leaves and fungi. In addition to hiding among forest debris, many species burrow into the ground for safety.

These critters are indeed tiny, with the largest specimens coming in around 3 cm (1.2 inches) long. They are recognizable by their ornate, spiky exoskeletons and brilliant colors, including red and hot pink species. In addition, Dragon millipedes have a chemical weapon — they can secrete a cyanide poison to ward off predators!


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

 

Read Full Post »

Here’s another re-blog about dragons at war. This one is from February 2013.


No, it’s not like the gold standard! Although, given the reputed size of some dragon hoards, dragons could BE the gold standard. But what I’m referring to here is using the dragon as a battle standard.

Lots of countries and individuals have used the dragon as their personal or military symbol. It’s easy to see why. Western dragons are huge and powerful. Using that as your emblem could certainly give your enemies pause. I’ve previously mentioned that a red dragon was the national symbol of Wales, before it became incorporated into Great Britain.

Eastern dragons, on the other hand, still convey power, but also wisdom and grace. So Bhutan, for instance, uses a white dragon on its flag. The white dragon conveys the beauty and serenity of this Himalayan kingdom.

One of the most fun and interesting dragon symbols I’ve read about is the Dacian draco. In Roman times, Dacia was a region in Eastern Europe between the Black Sea and the Carpathian Mountains. The modern countries of Moldova and Rumania, plus parts of Serbia, Hungary, Solvenia, Poland, Ukraine and Bulgaria, lie within the ancient domain of Dacia.

You’ve probably figured out already that the dragon was Dacia’s battle emblem. What’s fun is that they actually made a dragon that would roar, and they carried it at the front of their armies.

The draco was a metal tube decorated to look like a dragon, although the surviving images look rather more wolf-like than draconic. Behind the head was a fabric covering. The open mouth contained several thin metal strips.

This contraption was mounted on a pole and carried at the head of the Dacian armies by a man on a horse. Once he reached full gallop, the fabric would flow behind him, moving as if alive. Meanwhile, the metal pieces in the dragon’s mouth caught the wind and emitted a piercing shriek, amplified by the tube. Viola — a dragon that roared!


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

Read Full Post »

After telling you about the Black Dragon, a type of U. S. artillery during World War II, I can’t resist re-blogging another type of “dragon” from the same conflict. I hope you’ll enjoy this repeat from March of 2015.


(Dragon’s teeth) … are a type of fortification first used in Europe during World War II. They consist of three- to four-foot tall pyramids or cones, made of concrete, that are massed in a line or field along a battle front.

The idea was to create a barrier that tanks couldn’t easily penetrate. Often there would be several consecutive formations that had to be overcome, while the defender’s line of fire would not be impeded.

Not only were the dragon’s teeth themselves installed, but the ground surface would be prepared with sunken concrete slabs, making it difficult to undermine the teeth. Many formations included additional barriers such as barbed wire and mines to stop infantry, or steel beams to foul tank treads. Sometimes the “teeth” had metal spikes on top, as well.

In practice, dragon’s teeth weren’t as effective as one might expect. Combat engineers found ways to remove them, and it was easy enough for bulldozers or dump trucks to cover these areas with earth, creating a surface that tanks could navigate. At the end of World War II, many of the installations were left in place. Historians and tourists are free to visit these former battle fronts.

Today, a few variations on dragon’s teeth are still employed around the world. Dragon’s teeth are part of the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. Similar devices, such as spike strips, are laid down by police to stop fleeing vehicles, and some parking lots use them to prevent people from leaving without payment.

Sometimes even dragons are useful!


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

Read Full Post »

Unlike the mysterious heath-dragons of legend, these heath dragons are actual, living creatures. Heath dragons are a group of lizards native to Australia. They are members of the Agamid family, close cousins of iguanas.

The natural habitat for heath dragons is open forest, sandy scrub and, yes, heath lands. They mostly prey upon larger insects, such as grasshoppers and crickets. Most of them are patterned with gray, brown and tan as camouflage. They mostly prey upon larger insects, such as grasshoppers and crickets.

These lizards are small, about 21 cm/8 in, and have a wary nature. They prefer to stay under cover of rocks or hide beneath fallen leaves. Sometimes they will bury themselves in sand. It’s thought they do this to help regulate their temperature in Australia’s summer heat.

Heath dragons can be taken as pets and seem to adapt well to human keeping. They are not the most famous pet lizards, though, so this trade doesn’t seem to effect their long term prospects. No species of heath dragons are currently listed as threatened or endangered.


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

Read Full Post »

IMG_20171223_111134070

Wine-holding dragon. Photo by Deby Fredericks, December 2017.

Here’s a friendly and helpful dragon, seen on a store shelf at Christmas time. It even guards your wine bottle for you!

 


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

Read Full Post »

d228055e54fb4b9f7396ebd54a19b2f3--red-cat-dragon-eyesHere’s an awesome thing I never knew existed: dragon eyes!

They are contact lenses, of course. Serious costumers can wear them at Hallowe’en or during SF conventions. These would really give your outfit a kick.

I’ve never worn contact lenses. I don’t know if I’d like them. But don’t you just want to stick these in and frighten people going down the street?

You can buy them online at Spooky Eyes and a few other places.


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

 

Read Full Post »

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most amazing places in the world. The pine forests are peaceful and the mountains are majestic — but right in the middle are these stark white, barren plains where the wind carries hot mist and an infernal stench. The park features dozens of hot springs and geysers. Some remain anonymous, while others are named and well known.

Two sites are named for dragons. Both are found in the Mud Volcano area and have been known since early exploration in the 1870s. (That is, exploration by white people. Natives of the area must surely have been aware long before.)

The Dragon’s Mouth is a prominent spring where the churning of hot water has dug a cavern back into the hillside. Dragon’s Mouth is not the hottest spring, but steam builds quickly in the confined space. This results in a continual series of steam explosions. The constant surging and roaring makes for an impressive display.

The Black Dragon’s Cauldron is a relatively new feature. Hot water emerged on the surface sometime in the winter of 1947-48 and quickly created a visible cauldron. The water is high in sulfuric acid, killing nearby trees, while iron in the soil turns the water black. Interestingly, this spring has continued to grow as the subterranean hot-spot slowly migrates. The main eruption area is now in the south end of the cauldron.


Sign up for my newsletter and win a free E-book, The Weight of Their Souls. Just to go my Facebook page, AuthorDebyFredericks, and click the link on the left that says “Join my mailing list.” Easy, right?

 

Read Full Post »

We might not think of dragons as medical miracle-workers, but scientists have announced a breakthrough in the search for new antibiotics. The source? Komodo dragons!

Biologists have long known that Komodo dragons have some really nasty bacteria in their mouths. If these big lizards can’t overpower their prey, they use a long-acting bacterial weapon as their fall-back. Any animal bitten by a Komodo dragon will develop a serious infection known as sepsis. It might take a few days, but the dragon follows its prey until the infection kills it. Then, it’s dinner time.

However deadly their mouth bacteria are, Komodo dragons themselves never seem to suffer from sepsis. Scientists decided to study them and figure out why. A team at George Mason Univerisity, led by Monique van Hoek, recently announced they had isolated a blood protein called DRGN-1. In laboratory tests, DRGN-1 was highly effective against some of the most notorious drug-resistant bacteria. Not even MRSA could stand against the dragon’s cure.

Although these are preliminary results, and much work remains to be done, van Hoek’s team hopes to develop a new antibiotic weapon for the ongoing battle against resistant diseases.

Our hero… the dragon?

———-

Just a few of my books:

Aunt Ursula’s Atlas, Lucy D. Ford’s short story collection

Masters of Air & Fire, Lucy D. Ford’s middle-grade novel

The Grimhold Wolf, my gothic werewolf fantasy, and my epic fantasy, The Seven Exalted Orders.

Read Full Post »

bluedragon

Glaucus atlanticus is a little but lethal beast of the seven seas. Its nicknames include Blue Dragon, Blue Angel, and Sea Swallow. These are a type of sea slug, or nudibranch, that lives just at the ocean surface. Blue dragons spend most of their lives floating upside-down and drifting with currents and tides. They can swim slowly using their cerata, the delicate-looking fin/fingers, but mostly just hang out and wait for prey.

Their striking silver and blue coloration camouflages them in their marine habitat. The silvery back faces down, so that they disappear against the bright ocean surface, while the striped belly (actually the foot) faces up to blend with ripples and eddies.

Blue dragons are tiny, just over 1 inch long, but they are potentially quite dangerous. Their prey are jellyfish, whose stings they are naturally immune to. They can even take on large jellies like the Man-o-War. After eating, they save the jellyfish stingers in pockets on their cerata. Thus, though not venomous themselves, they can deliver a nasty sting when threatened.

Due to their drifting behavior, blue dragons are found almost everywhere the sea is warm, from Australia through India and South Africa, and up to Southern Europe. A separate but related species inhabits the Pacific Ocean. At present it does not appear these tiny dragons are threatened or endangered. They can be kept in aquariums because of their beautiful colors.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »