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Species guide

Weedy seadragon

Scientific name: Phyllopteryx taeniolatus

DESCRIPTION:

The weedy seadragon is a relative of the seahorse. Unlike the seahorse, its tail is not prensile and its body is longer, with prolongations that look like leaves and allow it to camouflage among the seaweed (the kelp, a very common seaweed in the places where it lives). The males have wider bodies and darker colouring than the females. Its maximum size is 45 cm.

BIOLOGY:

In nature it lives alone or in pairs.

It feeds on plankton, fish larvae and small crustaceans called misidaceae (you can often see them in the tank in L’Aquàrium de Barcelona). To feed, they expand the bottom of their snout, which creates a suction force that drags in the food.

This species is oviparous. Mating occurs in spring and the female passes between 250 and 300 eggs over to the male. The bottom of the male’s tail inflates and wrinkles, and develops small cavities where the eggs are installed. The fry are born some 4 weeks later.

HABITAT:

They live on coral and rocky reefs and in the meadows of plants and seaweed on the coats of Southern Australia. They live in temperate waters.

DISTRIBUTION:

They are found in temperate waters on the coasts of Australia.

STATUS:

A species classified as Insufficient Data (according to the red list of endangered species).

CURIOSITIES:

Do you know why it is known as a seaweed seahorse? Because it has prolongations that look like small leaves.