Sea Dragon

Created on Day 5

Design

The sea dragon has an interesting design. It lacks a caudal fin, and has bony plates covering its body. These characteristics restrict its mobility, but the bony plates provide great protection from possible predators. Because of this protection as well as its great camouflage, the sea dragon does not have many predators.

Features

  • The sea dragon has elaborate skin filaments that hang from its head, body, and tail.
  • The appendages of the leafy sea dragon are usually a shade of green or yellow, and the appendages of the weedy sea dragon are purple with a black border.

Fun Facts

  • Don’t be fooled by the delicate appearance of this creature. It is covered in hard plates and has sharp spines.
  • The male sea dragon has a brood patch on his tail on which he incubates fertilized eggs for 4–6 weeks.
  • To eat, this creature sucks plankton and tiny crustaceans into its tube-like snout.
  • These creatures are rarely seen as most are small and inconspicuous bottom dwellers.

CLASS: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)

ORDER: Syngnathiformes (pipefishes and seahorses)

FAMILY: Syngnathidae (pipefishes and seahorses)

GENUS/SPECIES: Phycodurus eques (leafy sea dragon) and

Phyllopteryx taeniolatus (weedy sea dragon)

Size: Up to 18 in (45 cm)

Depth: Most common in depths of 10 to 165 ft (3–50 m)

Diet: Shrimp, sea lice, and larval fish

Habitat: In temperate waters around Australia among the kelp reefs