Monday, December 28, 2009

Dragon of the Month: Storm Dragon

Storm Dragon (Chinese Dragon)
Nimibiaquidus tempestus

Size: 50'
Recognition: Long serpentine body with broad fur mane. Markings vary by region.
Habitat: Northern Asian highlands and mountains.
Classification: Draco/Terradraciforme/Nimibiaquidae
/Nimibiaquidus/n. tempestus
Also Known As: ChineseDragon, Thunder Dragon

The Storm Dragon is a creature that has been imbued with centuries of powerful legend, but is today one of the rarest of the dragon species. A large predatory flightless dragon in the family Nimibiaquidae, the Storm Dragon lives in the alpine regions of the Asian continent stretching from the north in Siberia to as far south as the Tibetan Plateau. Its thick pelts of fur insulate the dragon in the harsh arctic climates it favors and the twin antlers, (unique to the male only) are used in mating competitions between rivals. In the winter months the Storm Dragon will migrate south to find nesting lairs. The long whiskers, tongue and unique nose structure give the storm dragon the ability to travel and hunt in blinding weather conditions, attacking prey undetected. This habit of moving silently and invisibly through the clouds of fog and snow that blanket the Asian highlands have led to the Storm Dragon's name and fed the mythology of many of its supernatural abilities.

Hunting for large game such as elk, caribou, and yak, the Storm Dragon is a powerful animal that has become the very symbol of power itself in many Asian cultures. In China the Storm Dragon is synonymous with the emperor and graces many works of art. Come to represent good fortune and prosperity the Storm Dragon is loved and feared around the region.

In the small Himalayan country of Bhutan, the Storm Dragon is known as the Thunder Dragon and is emblazoned on their flag. Such mythological importance is placed on the dragon there that the ruler of Bhutan is referred to as The Dragon King, and its inhabitants called The People of the Thunder Dragon. The Jigme Dorji Wildlife Sanctuary in northern Bhutan is the largest nesting grounds of the Storm Dragon.

Today, with the industrialization of much of its habitat,
and the loss of many of its natural hunting and breeding grounds, the Storm Dragon is endangered. It is believed that there may be as few as 500 specimens living in the wild. Efforts by the Chinese government to breed the dragon in captivity have all failed. With effort, this beautiful, majestic and powerful creature will hopefully survive for centuries to come.

Below: Historical images of the Storm Dragon:

To view a selection from the book or purchase Dracopedia visit:

©2009William O'Connor/William O'Connor Studios/Dracopedia:A Guide to Drawing the Dragons of the World/The Dracopedia Project. All rights reserved.

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