The Birch Aquarium is happy to say,
a new fish, of sorts, is now on display.
"A fish?" you ask, "How can this be?"
"It looks like a dragon-ish creature to me."
With a snout and a tail, it looks like a seahorse,
But the weedy seadragon is different, of course.
Come to the aquarium and take a good, long, hard look,
At this marvelous sight straight from a Dr. Seuss book!
The Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography recently unveiled a new display tank that highlights the weedy seadragon, a fascinating animal from the temperate waters off southern Australia.
Weedy seadragons (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) are members of the seahorse family and have an unusual appearance, with a long snout and tail, and leafy appendages streaming from its body.
These delicate fish are poor swimmers, but use their leaf-like appendages to help them blend into the algae and kelp surrounding them for protection from predators. The seadragon’s diet consists of mysid shrimp and other small crustaceans. The weedy seadragon is found in water 3 to 165 feet deep on sandy bottoms along the edge of reefs with kelp growth.
Although weedy seadragons are mature after one year, they usually breed in their second year of life. Like most seahorses, the males carry the eggs until they hatch. While seahorses carry the eggs internally in a pouch, male seadragons carry the maturing eggs externally along their tail, where their skin forms a cup around each egg. The six juvenile seadragons at the aquarium are currently only 6 inches long, and they may grow to be 18 inches in length.
THE BIRCH AQUARIUM AT SCRIPPS. OCEANS OF FUN!
The Birch Aquarium at Scripps on the World Wide Web: aquarium.ucsd.edu
Video of these amazing animals is available upon request.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical, and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today on every continent and in every ocean. The institution has a staff of more than 1,400 and annual expenditures of approximately $195 million from federal, state, and private sources. Scripps operates oceanographic research vessels recognized worldwide for their outstanding capabilities. Equipped with innovative instruments for ocean exploration, these ships constitute mobile laboratories and observatories that serve students and researchers from institutions throughout the world. Birch Aquarium at Scripps serves as the interpretive center of the institution and showcases Scripps research and a diverse array of marine life through exhibits and programming for more than 430,000 visitors each year. Learn more at scripps.ucsd.edu and follow us at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About UC San Diego
At the University of California San Diego, we constantly push boundaries and challenge expectations. Established in 1960, UC San Diego has been shaped by exceptional scholars who aren’t afraid to take risks and redefine conventional wisdom. Today, as one of the top 15 research universities in the world, we are driving innovation and change to advance society, propel economic growth, and make our world a better place. Learn more at www.ucsd.edu.