Seadragons are some of the most ornately camouflaged creatures on the planet. Their spectacular gossamer, leaf-shaped appendages over their entire bodies enable them to blend in perfectly in their habitat of seaweed and kelp found in water to the south and east of Australia’s coast.
Seadragon males are responsible for childbearing. The male dragons have a spongy brood patch on the underside of the tail where females deposit their bright-pink eggs during mating. The eggs are fertilized during the transfer from the female to the male. The males incubate the eggs and release miniature sea dragons into the water after about four to six weeks (as seen in the video).
Seadragons survive on tiny crustaceans such as mysids, or sea lice. They are frequently captured by divers hoping to keep them as pets. In fact, such takings shrank their numbers so critically by the early 1990s that the Australian government placed a complete protection on both species. Pollution and habitat loss have also hurt their numbers, and they are currently listed as near threatened.
Leafy seadragon documentary film “The Vanishing Dragon”, uploaded to YouTube by madge1964 on Jan 5, 2009, was filmed in South Australia. The complete documentary DVD can be purchased at www.abysspictures.com
Orlando SeaWorld breeds rare seadragons ~ “We see people come up to this (seadragon) exhibit every day, and they’re just amazed to see that there’s something so unusual-looking. They’re a beautiful representation of the marine life of the ocean,” said Teryl Nolan Hesse, assistant curator for aquariums at SeaWorld Orlando. “They come here, see this, and they get excited about it. And when they’re excited about something, they want to learn more.”