Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus

Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, stands out in brilliant oranges, tans and purples.  However, when hidden in dense seaweed, it very difficult to spot.  These beauties are from the South coast of Australia and Tasmania where they typically live in beds of seaweed.  They are under threat due to habitat loss, particularly of large seagrass beds, resulting from human activities.  Their diet consists of small invertebrates and crustaceans floating in the plankton.  As appearance suggests, they are related to seahorses and pipefish (but lack the prehensile tail).  As with seahorses, the males carry the young.  However, rather than a pouch, they have a spongy area beneath the tail upon which the female lays the eggs where they will stay until they hatch about two months later.

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