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Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest

Weedy sea dragon

Weedy sea dragon

(Phyllopteryx taeniolatus)

The weedy sea dragon is found in shallow coastal waters among the kelp forests and reefs of southern and western Australia, including the southern tip of Tasmania. These slow, graceful swimmers use their olive green, yellow, purple and blue coloration, combined with their leaf-like appendages, to camouflage themselves among seaweed and sea grass.

Sea dragons are related to sea horses and pipe fish. They have the same characteristic long snout and armor-like plates covering most of their body. In addition, male sea dragons also brood their young. The female will implant 250 to 300 eggs in the soft skin of the male’s abdomen where they will develop and eventually hatch as small juveniles closely resembling the adult.

Come see our weedy sea dragons in action in the Cold Water Quest gallery.

Fun Facts

  • Weedy sea dragons swim horizontally with their abdomen facing downward.
  • They use their tubular snout like a drinking straw to suck up small crustaceans and other prey.
  • The color, size and shape of the leafy appendages depend on factors such food supply.
  • Weedy sea dragons are protected by the Australian government because populations are threatened by illegal collectors.
  • The species is listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List.
  • Download full fact sheet

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