But the sea dragon males are different from the seahorse males. It is a very interesting species of seahorse that is unlike any other. They feed on plankton, mysids and other small crustaceans. Introduction to Syngnathidae Family One of the most interesting living creatures in the bodies of water is the seahorse. As soon as a baby sea dragon leaves the safety of their father’s tail, they are on their own. Sea dragons grow to a length of 20 cm after one year, reaching their mature length at two years. They don’t have a coiled tail either so that makes it even more appealing that they are part of the foliage and not something alive. Leafy sea dragon Red kangaroo Sand scorpion Reproductive strategies used by organisms described in this ac-Tip: You may wish to have students record their ideas on a sheet of paper while they read the comparison tables Investigating Reproductive Strategies niver t This activity as donloaded rom h˜ps://teach.genetics.utah.edu Print-and-Go They have one of the most spectacular examples of camouflage: neither prey nor predators recognize them as a fish. They will fight with each other too for the right to mate. Both species resemble floating pieces of seaweed which makes them difficult for predators to find in their natural habitat. When hatching starts, the male releases only a few eggs at a time. 101+ Ways  |  Join our Group  |  Donate  |  Shop! Founded in June 1998, the Aquarium of the Pacific is a 501©3 non-profit organization. The bright pink eggs become embedded in the cups of the brood patch, receiving oxygen via the cups’ blood vessels. When male sea dragons are ready to receive eggs from the female, the lower half of the tail on the male appears wrinkled. Habitat and Breeding The Leafy prefers to live in 5 to 35 feet of water in kelp beds and marshy seaweed infested areas and avoids open water where their colorful appendages would make them stick out like a sore thumb. Leafy sea dragons have more of the leaf-like appendages on their bodies than the closely-related weedy sea dragons. “A little gift from Cozumel Island Mexico / a little gift from Cozumel Island Mexico.”. After this, they hunt small zooplankton, such as copepods and rotifers, until large enough to hunt juvenile mysids. - Rachel Carson, © 1998-2021 | The MarineBio Conservation Society | Privacy Policy 2 Leafy Sea Dragon or Glauert’s Sea dragon (Phycodurus eques) 2.1 Main Characteristics; 2.2 Reproduction; 2.3 Leafy sea dragons’ Diet and Eating Habits; 3 Other Sea Dragon Species. The main distinguishing characteristic is its bright red coloration, hence the name “ruby.” Three Species – There are just three known species of sea dragons, the leafy sea dragon, the weedy, or common, sea dragon, and the ruby sea dragon. There are 2 parents in the reproduction process. Handling of any sort is discouraged due to the likelihood of injuring this animal. They have transparent dorsal and pectoral fins that are small and have a very fine appearance but they have lost their caudal and pelvic fins. Unlike seahorses, sea dragons do not have a pouch for rearing their young. The sea dragon has a variety of leaf-like appendages on their heads and bodies. They have a small head with a long, thin pipe-like snout and a tail that is about half their total length. He may take from hours to days to let go of the entire brood. While breeding the female counterparts generally gives 250 pink colored offspring. 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The Birch Aquarium's 18-foot-long (5.5-meter-long) tank has three leafy sea dragons — two males and one female — and 11 weedy sea dragons. As reported on Facebook: “Mar 26, 2013 4:59pm: Exciting news on the farm! Leafies are constantly disguised so the eggs are very protected. The Aquarium is currently closed. When a female is ready to mate she will spend several days with the male. GBIF network ~ OBIS distribution map ~ AquaMaps. ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS, Search for Leafy Sea Dragons @Flickr ~ Google ~ Picsearch ~ Wikipedia ~ YouTube. While Ocean Rider in Kona, Hawaii has gotten leafy sea dragons to mate and produce eggs, no leafy sea dragons have been born in captivity yet. Seadragons like temperate water so the water in their habitat is colder than that in the rest of the Tropical Pacific Gallery exhibits. Those that live in deeper water are dark brown to burgundy red. Special licenses are required to collect or export them and in 2015 the Australian government stopped issuing such licenses. Leafy sea dragons, Phycodurus eques (Günther, 1865), aka leafy seadragons or Glauert’s seadragon, Phycodorus eques (Günther, 1865), and Phyllopteryx eques (Günther, 1865), get their common names from the leaf-like appendages on their bodies. Our leafy Seadragons are displaying mating behaviors. Reproduction of Leafy Seadragon These species become sexually matured at the age of 28 months. The scaleless body of seadragons is covered is covered in hard bony plates. The leafy sea dragon, Phycodurus eques, has a long pipe-like snout with a small terminal mouth. It is unique to note that the males bear the babies in the womb. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. In late winter they migrate to selected shallow bays, forming congregations to pair and eventually mate. Elaborate leaf-like appendages protrude from the head, body, and tail. LIFE CYCLE OF THE LEAFY SEA DRAGON When baby leafy sea dragons are born, they are about 0.8”. Leafy seadragons have been listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List since 2006. Leafy seadragons are not on exhibit at the Aquarium. Leafy Sea Dragon Parent Care Reproduction Process and Parent Care While the male is caring for the babies, the eggs are protected since the father looks like seaweed. 82 ft ) in different types of seaweeds or other small crustaceans moment they,..., pollution, excessive fertilizer runoff, and poaching by humans can be found the... Dragons grow to a length of 20 cm after one year, reaching their mature length at two.! Weedy sea dragon when baby leafy sea dragons have a pouch for their! To six years reefs, seaweed beds, and may hide in different types of seaweeds natural.. Is trying to breed 82 ft ) the bodies of water is by rapidly oscillating ventral and pelvic.... 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