The Leafy Sea dragon

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The Leafy Sea dragon

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The Leafy Sea dragon

Marine Biology Presentation




Phycodurus eques: the Leafy Sea DragonKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: ActinopterygiiOrder: SyngnathiformesFamily: SyngnathidaeGenus: Phycodurus


Belong to the same family as the sea horse and the pipefish


Found ONLY along southern AustraliaTherefore it is Endemic to that area


Great Australian Bight and Rocky Reefs


They have a very bony plated body (no scales)The pectoral fins are located on the neck, and a dorsal fin runs along the sea dragon's back Can grow up to 18 inches or 30 cm longMade to look like the seaweed in their habitat in order to protect themselves from their predators such as large fishThey are actually weak swimmers and this makes them vulnerable to predators and hunters They have a tail that cannot be coiled, unlike sea horses



There are 2 types of sea dragons, the leafy and the weedyThe difference is mostly in appearance and color, the weedy sea dragons have less appendages and are more red in color whereas the leafy sea dragon is a green to yellow color. The Leafy sea dragon can be slightly red, but it depends on how deep in the water it is found, the deeper it is found, the more red it gets

Differences in Appearance


The Leafy Sea Dragon lives in warm water temperatures 55-67* Fahrenheit And in waters that are about 30 meters deepThey like to live in rocky reefs, sand patches, sea grass meadows and seaweed beds




Feed on shrimp, krill, zooplankton and larval fishes (baby fishes)Due to lack of teeth, they suck their prey through their mouth tunnel (do not have a stomach so they eat constantly)The Leafy sea dragon can eat up to thousands of prey a day



Up to 7-10 yearsAt 2 years old, they are fully grown and can breedThey live solitary lives but pair up only to mate From October to March is breeding seasonThe female lays up to 300 eggs that the male carries around in a patch by his tail for about 6 to 8 weeks

Life and Reproduction Cycle


On the IUCN red list, they are found Near ThreatenedAre not commonly captured for the illegal medicine uses, but are captured for museum exhibits and illegal pet trading Loss of habitat is the highest cause of reductionCaused by urban and agricultural run-off, industrial pollution, etc.

Human Impact


Also known as Glauert’s sea dragon, name comes from Ludwig Glauert who was a famous Australian paleontologist, herpetologist and museum curator from the early 1900’sThe Leafy sea dragon is the official marine emblem of the state of South AustraliaIt is very hard to notice in it’s habitat

Fun Facts


Australia is very keen on conserving this species (many scientists believe that it is decreasing in size) so one thing they will do is when you scuba dive in that area, they will ask you if you have seen sightings of the speciesMany laws and standards have been set to protect the Leafy sea dragon from divers’ harassment and huntersOnce a year, one brooding male may be collected and kept in safe location (for example, the Monterey Bay Aquarium)The hatchling are sent back to the ocean soon after hatching



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