Leafy Seadragon, Phycodurus eques Click to enlarge image
A male Leafy Seadragon at a depth of 9m, Victor Harbour, South Australia. This fish is carrying eggs attached to the underside of its tail. Image: Andrew Bowie
© Andrew Bowie

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    eques
    Genus
    Phycodurus
    Family
    Syngnathidae
    Order
    Syngnathiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia

Introduction

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.



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".



Habitat

Leafy seadgragons are usually seen on kelp-covered rocky reefs in depths from about 3 m to 50 m.



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.



Breeding behaviours

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

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.