leafy sea dragonimage credit: scuba-equipment-usa.com

image credit: duiops.net
leafy sea dragonimage credit: miapearlman.com
leafy sea dragonimage credit: photography.nationalgeographic.com 

leafy sea dragonimage credit: trekkiebeth
Habitat: southern & western coasts of Australia
Status: Near Threatened

This one of my absolute favorite creatures out there (and that’s saying something)! The Leafy Sea Dragon (Phycodurus eques) is a seahorse that gets its name from the long, leaf-like extensions that poke out all over its body.

The projections don’t provide a means of movement for the animal, but rather exist solely for the purpose of camouflage. To move about, the Leafy Sea Dragon has a pectoral fin on the ridge of its neck and a dorsal fin closer to its tail which are virtually transparent and move quite slowly, so that the creature can imitate the movement of seaweed once again by swaying steadily in the current.

Like other seahorses, the male carries the eggs until they hatch. The female produces around 250 bright pink eggs and then deposits them on the male’s brood patch via a long tube. Sadly, only around 5% of the eggs survive once hatched.

Here’s a sweet little video of the Leafy Sea Dragon doin’ it’s thang:

leafy sea dragon from 7876 FILMS on Vimeo.