Tag Archive: seadragons


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

Genus/species: Phycodurus eques

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color varies from brown tones,to greenish or reddish depending on depth. Their body is scaleless and covered is in hard bony plates with long sharp spines on each bony plate that may be defensive. Leaf-like appendages protrude from the head, body, and tail and transparent dorsal and pectoral fins. Their long, thin pipe-like snout has no jaw.
Maximum length of the leafy seadragon is about 35 cm (14 in).

leafy seadragon11042381084_94c0a006a8_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to southern Australia.
Found amongst brown algae (kelp) in shallow, temperate water, associated with seagrass beds and rocky reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: Do not have a jaw, teeth or a stomach. They swallow their prey whole by creating a suction to suck mysid shrimp, zooplankton and fish larvae into their mouths.

REPRODUCTION: Like the seahorse, the male seadragon carries the eggs. He develops about 120 shallow depressions in a spongy section of the ventral surface of his tail. The female deposits her eggs in the depressions.

LONGEVITY: 7-10 yrs.

PREDATORS: Depend on camouflage and sway like plants in the water to hide from predators.

CONSERVATION:IUCN Red List (2006.) Near Threatened. Habitat destruction, pollution, excessive fertilizer runoff, and poaching by humans has lead to a decrease in numbers. They are fully protected with special licenses required to collect or export them.

REMARKS: Unlike its seahorse relative that swims vertically, the seadragon swims horizontally. It is a very slow swimmer, as might be expected from its tiny fins, but is protected not only by its camouflage but by sharp spines that deter predators.
The leafy seadragon has the honor of being the official emblem of Australia.

leafy seadragon2980686562_a871c0e383_b

Color of Life
P. eques moves very slowly through the water and mimics seaweed, which makes it a master at camouflage.

References

California Academy of Sciences Water planet: Centerpiece Water Dependence 2015

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/11042381084/in/album-72157608441047857/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1C2

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Phycodurus-eques.html

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Phycodurus_eques/

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/17096/0

Aquarium of the Pacific www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/species/le…

 


TAXONOMY

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).

5119453686_669d49f3b7_b

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.

seadragon5119453148_827f229703_b

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.

seadragon8395822449_9cd5ac59ff_k

CONSERVATION: IUCN RED LIST Near Threatened (NT)
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.

References

California Academy of Sciences Seadragon Exhibit 2015

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5119453686/in/album-72157608441047857/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1BP

fishbase www.fishbase.se/summary/Phyllopteryx-taeniolatus.html

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/17177/0

Australian Museum  australianmuseum.net.au/weedy-seadragon-phyllopteryx-taen…

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Phyllopteryx_taeniolatus/

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