Leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques)
Named after the dragons of Chinese mythology, Leafy seadragons (Phycodurus eques) resemble a piece of drifting seaweed as they float in the seaweed-filled water. The Leafy seadragon, with green, orange and gold hues along its body, is covered with leaf-like appendages, making it remarkably camouflaged. Only the fluttering of tiny fins or the moving of an independently swiveling eye, reveals its presence.
Like the seahorse, the male seadragon carries as many as 150-200 eggs. After being deposited by the female, the eggs are carried in the honeycomb-shaped area (known as the brood patch) under the male's tail for approximately eight weeks. Seadragons have no teeth or stomach and feed exclusively on mysidopsis shrimp. Known as "Australian seahorses" in Australia, they are found in calm, cold water that is approximately 50-54° F (10-12° C). Leafy seadragons have been protected by the South Australian government since 1982.