Leafy Seadragon

Leafy Seadragon Phycodurus eques

Type of Animal:

Rocky reefs, seaweed beds, seagrass areas, sand patches, around/among kelp-covered rocks, coastal areas, can be found from surface all the way to 164.042 ft deep

Waters off of southern Australia

Long seahorse, leafy/seaweed-like appearance, greenish to yellowish to yellowish-brown to greenish-brown w/ thin bands/stripes across body, long snout, yellow eye, very well camouflaged

Shrimp, sea lice, amphipods, zooplankton, small worms, small fish, fish larvae

Status in Wild:

Breeding in aquariums & zoos. Australia prohibits capture of these animals, only granting permits for research & conservation efforts.

Small groups of 2-6 animals

Additional Info:

Male: Seastallion
Female: Seamare
Young: Fry
Group: Herd/School
4 oz

9 weeks 

Life Span:
3-4 years in captivity, 6-8 years in wild

Adult: 8-14 in
Young: 4 in

Body Length:
Adult: 8-14 in
Young: 4 in

Tail Length:
3-4 in

Main predators of adults are fish. Many fish, crustaceans, & sea anemones.
These animals have excellent camouflage, which is their best defense against predators as well as the best way to catch prey.
Feed by sucking w/ long snout.
Use fins along side of head allowing steering/turning.
While stable, they do face threats such as collection, pollution, use in alternative medicine, climate change, & fishing development.
Fry live off egg capsule for 1st 2 days of life.
Amount of air in swim bladders fluctuates so they can hold position vertically or move themselves up & down.
These animals swim very slowly.
Maturity reached at close to a year old.

Fun Fact(s):
Marine emblem of South Australia. Also featured in logos of Adelaide University Scuba Club Inc. & Marine Life Society of South Australia Inc.
Biennial Leafy Sea Dragon Festival held within boundaries of South Australian town Yankalilla celebrating these animals as well as the arts/culture/environment of Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia.
Like other seahorses, males care for eggs. Female produces up to 250 eggs which are then deposited onto male’s tail. Eggs then attach to brood patch.
Like other seahorses, they lack teeth & stomachs, so they eat constantly.
These animals are very difficult to keep & breed in captivity.
These animals can cost between $10,000 & $15,000 per animal.

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