Unique "Dr. Seuss" Fish Goes on Display at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps


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 on the World Wide Web: aquarium.ucsd.edu

Video of these amazing animals is available upon request.

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