Animal Species:Ribboned Seadragon, Haliichthys taeniophorus Gray, 1859

The Ribboned Seadragon can be recognised by its elongate body with bony knobs above the eyes and spines on the body ridges.

Standard Common Name

Ribboned Seadragon

Identification

The Ribboned Seadragon can be recognised by its elongate body with bony knobs above the eyes and spines on the body ridges.

Despite its common name, the Ribboned Seadragon is not a true seadragon (which occur only in southern Australia), but a member of the pipehorse group of fishes.

Size range

It grows to 30cm in length.

Distribution

The Ribboned Seadragon is known from the central coast of Western Australia around the tropical north to northern Queensland.

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

Haliichthys taeniophorus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Ribboned Seadragon specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

It usually inhabits trawling grounds.

Economic/social impacts

Strong similarities to the Ribboned Seadragon can be seen in prehistoric depictions of the Rainbow Serpent, an ancestral being of Australian Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people depicted the Rainbow Serpent over thousands of years.

The research of Taçon et al (see further reading) suggests that the Ribboned Seadragon may be the origin of the earliest Rainbow Serpent paintings.

Classification

Species:
taeniophorus
Genus:
Haliichthys
Family:
Syngnathidae
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  • Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  • Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  • Paxton, J.R., D.F. Hoese, G.R. Allen & J.E. Hanley. 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia Vol.7 Pisces Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Survey. Pp. i-xii, 1-665.
  • Tacon, P.S.C., Wilson, M and C. Chippindale. 1996. Birth of the Rainbow Serpent in Arnhem land rock art and oral history. Archaeology in Oceania. 31(3): 103-24.


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