Weedy Sea Dragon – Phyllopteryx taeniolatus
Species name: Phyllopteryx taeniolatus
Common names: Common seadragon, Weedy Sea Dragon
Family: Syngnathidae (Pipefishes and seahorses)
Maximum length: 18.11 in
Minimum tank size: unknown
Hardiness: Difficult. Not many aquariums have weedy sea dragons because they do not survive well in captivity. In fact, only slightly more than half do survive.
Reef Compatibility: Excellent
Distribution: Eastern Indian Ocean: southern Australia, from southern Western Australia to New South Wales and Tasmania
Diet: They use their tube shaped snout to such up zooplankton and any other tiny crustaceans they can find including mysids. Feeding is what makes them difficult to keep Weedies in an aquarium. They refuse to feed on anything other than their native food or live mysiid shrimps
Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, also known as the Weedy Sea Dragon is native to the Eastern Indian Ocean where it is found among seaweeds and coral reefs at depths of 0-160 feet. Unfortunately, not many aquariums have weedy sea dragons because they do not survive well in captivity. According to Marine Depot Blog, only about 50 aquariums worldwide have sea dragons. This might explain why it was so difficult to find information about this species.
Phyllopteryx taeniolatus is a close relative of the seahorse. It looks similar to the seahorse, except it has long weed-like structures that stick out from their bodies which makes them really difficult to distinguish in their natural environment. They have a long pipe-like snout with a small terminal mouth. The body is usually brown or reddish with their weed-like structures being greener. They also have yellow spots. The body is long and covered in rings of bone.
It is interesting that the Weedy Sea Dragon is so well camouflaged because scientists are still unsure if these animals actually have predators or not.
Sea dragons, sea horses and pipe fish are the only species where the male carries the eggs but seadragons do not have a pouch for rearing the young. Instead, the male carries the eggs fixed to the underside of his tail from where they eventually hatch.
I have found close to nothing about how to keep the Weedy Sea Dragon in aquarium.
Do you have experience with Weedy Sea Dragon?
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