Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Syngnathiformes (Pipefishes and seahorses)
Family: Syngnathidae (Seahorses, Pipefishes, and Seadragons)

Genus/species: Phyllopteryx taeniolatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Orange-yellow to brownish-yellow, small pale dots on body with stripes, often brilliant blue, on neck. Leafy projections, purple with black edges, in varying numbers, along the body. Long, tubular snout. Dorsal fin near the tail, two tiny pectoral fins on neck.
Max length : 46.0 cm (18 inches).


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to waters off southern Australia in kelp-covered rocky reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: Since all seadragons and seahorses lack teeth and moveable jaws they suck in their prey, similar to drinking through a straw.


REPRODUCTION: Prior to mating the area of the male’s tail where he will keep the eggs becomes slightly swollen, soft and spongy. The female actually pushes the eggs onto this area of the male’s tail where they are fertilized. He carries the eggs for about 2 months. The young are born with a yolk sac still attached that sustains them for about two days, until their snout grows enough to feed.


Major threat. Weedy Seadragons are weak swimmers; in conjunction with a lack of a dispersive egg phase, this potentially makes them vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation, which is the main threat to this species.
Asian herbalists can sell dried and powdered bodies for up to $200/gram.

REMARKS: The appendages of weedy seadragons are not as elaborate as those of leafy seadragons; however, their camouflage is also effective as they look like pieces of sea weed floating in the water. Weedy and leafy seadragons share the same range and habitat and have the same conservation status.

Color of Life; Cryptic coloration
Leaf-shaped appendages and cryptic colouration of this species provides protection from predators.


California Academy of Sciences Seadragon Exhibit 2015

Ron’s flickr

Ron’s WordPress shortlink



Australian Museum…