Leafy seadragon

the currents arc
i think i’ll wear a mask today
daylight breaking

Greetings from Australia! Over the next few months I will be highlighting aquatic creatures of Terra Australis.

First up, the leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques); part leaf, part dragon. Leafy seadragons (or leafies) are officially members of the Syngnathidae family and relatives of pipefish and seahorses.

The epitome of stealth, leafy seadragons look and move like seaweed. Leafy appendages branch out from the animal’s body. Never in a hurry, leafy seadragons amble about using pectoral fins on their neck and a dorsal fin along the tail.

Their snouts hoover up tiny crustaceans, and also bear distinct markings. Researchers can follow individuals in the wild based on unique facial patterns. Turns out these foot-long slowpokes manage to have home ranges up to 5 hectares in size!

Where there are leafies, there are weedies! Weedy seadragons (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) are also endemic to Australia – so are the newly discovered ruby seadragons!