Thursday, January 8, 2009

Beautiful Sea Dragons-dads raise the babies

Sea Dragons are some of the most ornately camouflaged creatures on the planet.
Adorned with gossamer, leaf-shaped appendages over their entire bodies,
they are perfectly outfitted to blend in with the seaweed and kelp formations
they live amongst. Endemic to the waters off south and east Australia, leafy and
weedy sea dragons are closely related to seahorses and pipefish.

Leafies are generally brown to yellow in body color with spectacular olive-tinted

Weedies have less flamboyant projections and are usually reddish in color with
yellow spots.

As with sea horses, sea dragon males are responsible for childbearing.
But instead of a pouch, like sea horses have, male sea dragons have a
spongy brood patch on the underside of the tail where females deposit their
bright-pink eggs during mating. The eggs are fertilized during the transfer
from the female to the male. The males incubate the eggs and carry them to term,
releasing miniature sea dragons into the water after about four to six weeks.