Marsupial Dragon

marsupial dragon joey
Beautiful, but with little chance of survival

The Marsupial Dragon is such an improbable beast that even cryptozoologists hardly like to talk about it.

As with most marsupials, the young are born tiny and almost shapeless, crawl up to the mother’s pouch, latch on to a nipple, and only emerge when they are independently mobile.

This joey, discovered crawling on a footpath at James Cook University, is very young – still almost legless and completely wingless; only the crest gives away its true nature. It must have fallen from the pouch as the mother flew overhead the night before.

It is possible that the mother lives in one of the gullies behind Mt Stuart. There is some wild country back there and it’s all Army land so most of it is undisturbed (except by odd stray munitions) from one year to the next.

The photographer has asked to remain anonymous to preserve his academic credibility.

Update, April 2

For the benefit of anyone who finds this post and doesn’t (or didn’t) notice its date… my dragon is a caterpillar, specifically the caterpillar of the beautiful (but not very common) Tailed Emperor butterfly, Polyura sempronius.

It was indeed photographed by a staff member at JCU. I thank him for the use of his image.

For more about the (real) species, visit wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyura_sempronius. For more (real) weird bugs, this listicle is fun; and for more (but, disappointingly, unreal) marsupial dragons, this page is a good starting point.

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