Wild Fact #643 – The Perfect Disguise – Leafy Sea Dragon

Photo by and (C)2007 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man); derivative edit by Papa Lima Whiskey

Recently on a blog post over at http://transformyourlife1.blogspot.com/ the author (known on Wild Facts as Agapelife) mentioned a Leafy Sea Dragon that she spotted while visiting San Diego last year.  Then through her blog she sneakily requested a Wild Fact on this bizarre animal. So today, I am absolutely thrilled to present some interesting facts about the Leafy Sea Dragon.  Although, they can be seen in San Diego and other aquariums/zoos around the world they are endemic to the waters off the south and east coasts of Australia.

Personally I think the Leafy Sea Dragon, also known as “Leafies”, are one of the coolest looking animals out there.  Not only that but they are also perfectly adapted to their environment.  Take one look at the animal and tell me what type of habitat they hang out in.  If you guessed amongst the weeds and kelp then you are 100% correct.  Let’s face it the Leafy Sea Dragon blends in perfectly with the aquatic vegetation.

Photo by dro!d (Wikicommons)

In fact they are so well camouflaged that you may be having a tough time actually seeing the physical characteristics of this animal.   So let’s try and paint the picture using words.  First off they have long slender snouts, skinny trunks covered in bony rings and of course the long thin tail.  Here is a little bit of family history for you.  The Leafy Sea Dragon is closely related to the Seahorse and Pipefish.  Do you see the resemblance?

So how does this piece of seaweed move around the water column?  If you look close enough you may see some small, transparent dorsal and pectoral fins.  These fins are responsible for propelling and of course steering them along the path they choose.  Although, they have no issues with just letting the current push them around like a tumbleweed.  Besides, if you look like a piece of seaweed and float like a piece of seaweed then predators are probably going to assume you are a piece of seaweed.

Leafy Sea Dragon Fast Fact – Similar to their Seahorse cousins the males of this species are responsible for taking care of the children.  Unlike their cousin, male leafies don’t have a pouch for their babies.  Although, they do have a brood patch on the underside of their tail which the female deposits the eggs in after mating.   Not a bad deal for Miss Leafy Sea Dragon.

I hope you enjoyed leafing through our latest Wild Fact.  I also hoped this satisfies the curiousity of Agapelife’s readers over at TransformYourLife.  Enjoy the rest of your day and keep smiling, folks!

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