Named after the dragons of Chinese mythology, Leafy sea dragons (Phycodurus eques) resemble a piece of drifting seaweed as they float in the seaweed-filled water. The Leafy seadragon, with green, orange and gold hues along its body, is covered with leaf-like appendages, making it remarkably camouflaged. Only the fluttering of tiny fins or the moving of an independently swiveling eye reveals its presence.
Like the seahorse, the male seadragon carries as many as 150-200 eggs. After being deposited by the female, the eggs are carried in the honeycomb-shaped area (known as the brood patch) under the male's tail for approximately eight weeks.
The most stunning and strange of all ocean fish is considered as sea dragons. They are closely related to sea horses, sea dragons.
They have eccentric appearance comparatively. Usually with larger bodies and leaf-like appendages which enable them to hide among floating seaweed.
Seadragons have no teeth or stomach and feed exclusively on mysidopsis shrimp . The leafy sea dragon sucks up its prey using its long pipe-like snout and small mouth. Its favourite food is mysid shrimps or sea lice. These shrimps feed on red algae (seaweeds) that thrive in the shade of the kelp forests where the sea dragons live.
They are found in calm, cold water that is approximately 50-54° F (10-12° C). Leafy sea dragons have been protected by the South Australian government since 1982.
Like the seahorse, the male sea dragon carries as many eggs. After being deposited by the female, the eggs are carried in the honeycomb-shaped area (known as the brood patch) under the male's tail for approximately eight weeks. . During mating the female deposits up to 250 eggs onto the "brood patch" on the underside of the male’s tail. After about eight weeks, the brood hatches, but in nature only about 5 per cent of sea dragons survive to maturity (two years).
Size:A fully grown Leafy Sea Dragon grows to about 18 inches (45 cm).
Interesting to watch--. The body of a sea dragon is hardly to move at all. Steering and turning is through movement of minute, lucid fins at the sides of the head and force derives from the dorsal fin which is at the spine. It’s a typical and graceful pattern in slow-motion. Only close observation reveals movement of an eye or tiny fins.