Animal Species:Leafy Seadragon, Phycodurus eques (Günther, 1865)

The Leafy seadgragon is one of only two seadragon species found in Australian waters. It's colouration and leafy appendages give it excellent camoflouge on kelp-covered rocky reefs.

Standard Common Name

Leafy Seadragon

Alternative Name/s

Glauert's Sea-dragon

Identification

The Leafy Seadragon can be recognised by the leafy appendages on its body. It has a long tubular snout, a pectoral fin on its "neck" and a dorsal fin on its "back".

Similar Species

Weedy Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus

Distribution

This superbly camouflaged fish is endemic to Australian temperate waters. It is known from the southern coastline of Australia, from Kangaroo Island, South Australia to south-western Western Australia.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Phycodurus eques

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Leafy Seadragon specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

It occurs on kelp-covered rocky reefs in depths from about 3 m to 50 m.

Mating and reproduction

The male of the species carries eggs attached to the underside of its tail.

Classification

Species:
eques
Genus:
Phycodurus
Family:
Syngnathidae
Order:
Gasterosteiformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

Further Reading

Fishes of Australia webpage

References

  1. Dawson, C.E. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Leafy Seadragon, Phycodurus eques, Syngnathidae, yellow, odd-shaped, striped or bands, kelp, seagrass, marine, adult, leafy,

2 comments

Mark McGrouther - 5.03 PM, 22 March 2010

Hi Lesley, Lucky you!  I am most envious.  I have never seen a live one.  Has anyone else seen multiple fish together?

blyounger - 3.03 PM, 22 March 2010
We are enjoying the company of about nine Leafy Sea Dragons in Two Rocks Western Australia. Now I have read your information about their transparent fins I must look closer.

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