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Sea Dragons

General information

Sea Dragons belong to the family „Syngnathidae„ a kind of marine fishes closely related to seahorses and pipefishes. They are endemic to the tropical waters of south and east Australia, live amongst seaweed and kelp formations below the low tide line in depths from about 3 to 50m.

Sea dragons are some of the most ornately camouflaged creatures of the oceans; have long, slender bodies and a long snout-like mouth. They are mostly green in color with more ornate wing-like appendages, bony plates surrounding their bodies. Their jaws are fused into a tube-snouted mouth, and they have no stomach. They suck the small brine shrimp or plankton in their mouth, it passes through the body, and quickly passes out as waste. Because there is no stomach, there is no area to hold food for energy. Sea-dragons as well as sea-horses, and pipe-fishes must eat constantly on mysids and other small crustaceans.

As with sea horses, sea dragon males are responsible for childbearing. But instead of a pouch, like sea horses have, male sea 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 carry them to term, releasing miniature sea dragons into the water after about four to six weeks.


Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gasterosteiformes
Family: Syngnathidae
Genus: Phycodurus and Phyllopteryx

Phycodurus

Phyllopteryx