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Leafy Sea Dragon

Leafy Sea Dragon
Photo Information
Copyright: Manyee Desandies (manyee) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-04-25
Categories: Fish
Camera: Canon Powershot SX110IS
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Underwater Wonder World 5 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-04-30 6:42
Viewed: 9631
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Leafy Sea Dragon
Phycodurus eques

Description & Behavior

The leafy sea dragon, Phycodurus eques (GŁnther, 1865), aka leafy seadragon or Glauerts seadragon, get their common names from the leaf-like appendages on the body. The leafy sea dragon has more of the leaf-like appendages on the body than the closely-related weedy sea dragon. Both species resemble floating pieces of seaweed which makes them difficult for predators to find in their natural habitat. They reach a total length of 35 cm.

World Range & Habitat

These superbly camouflaged fishes are only found in Australia's temperate waters. This species has only been recorded from the southern coastline of Australia, from Kangaroo Island, South Australia to Rottnest Island, Western Australia. These fishes live over sand patches among kelp-covered rocks below the low tide line in depths from about 3-50 m.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

The leafy sea dragon, Phycodurus eques, has a long pipe-like snout with a small terminal mouth. It feeds on plankton, mysids and other small crustaceans. One of the most spectacular examples of camouflage: neither prey nor predators recognize it as a fish.

Life History

Unlike seahorses, sea dragons do not have a pouch for rearing the young. Instead, the male carries the eggs fixed to the underside of his tail from where they eventually hatch. When male sea dragons are ready to receive eggs from the female, the lower half of the tail on the male appears wrinkled. During mating, the female lays 100-250 eggs onto a special 'brood patch' on the underside of the male's tail, where they are attached and fertilized. This brood patch, consisting of cups of blood-rich tissue each holding one egg, and is specifically developed by the male for use during the breeding season of August-March. The bright pink eggs become embedded in the cups of the brood patch, receiving oxygen via the cups' blood vessels. During each breeding season, male leafy sea dragons will hatch two batches of eggs. After a period of about 4-6 weeks from conception, the male 'gives birth' to miniature juvenile versions of sea dragons. As soon as a baby sea dragon leaves the safety of its father's tail, it is independent and receives no further help from its parents. For 2-3 days after birth, the baby sea dragons are sustained by their yolk sac. After this, they hunt small zooplankton, such as copepods and rotifers, until large enough to hunt juvenile mysids. Sea dragons grow to a length of 20 cm after one year, reaching their mature length at two years. In the wild, young sea dragons are preyed upon by other fish, crustaceans and evn sea anemones. Young sea dragons look more delicate, and are often differently colored than adults, and may hide in different types of seaweeds.

This photo was taken at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.


roges, rousettus, writerscrawlz has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

greaty capture, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2009-04-30 11:38]

Hi Manyee !

A superb macro.
An exceptional player and color contrast is exceptional.
The description offered is very good.
Have a nice night,

excellent beauty. great shot, Manyee.
I also tell it in my vertebrate lessons as mimicry master.
thanks for sharing, well done

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2009-05-01 0:28]

excellent shapes and colors, beautiful setup. tfs.

Hello Manyee,
This is a fantastic capture of the Leafy Sea Dragon,and a great documentation of the species.
We don't see these often on TN o it a great addition to the archives.
TFS & Cheers

Your notes are excellent and I really enjoy the rich colors. The contrasts are remarkable; the beauty itself caught my eye and I'm mesmerized by this...nice job.

excellent shapes and colors, beautiful setup. tfs.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-05-05 15:45]

Hi Manyee,this is a fantastic pic! What a great details and colors! I know that the underwater world is not a prefered category of the TN'S people...but today this pic change the things.Beautiful work,my best best compliments,Luciano

  • Great 
  • NotArt (23)
  • [2009-07-17 21:01]

Beautiful picture! I tried it dozens of times at the aquarium, and they all came out exceedingly "artistic" (i.e. out of focus). Congratulations on getting it right!

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