Amongst Dalton Koss HQ’s favourite animals and plants are the enigmatic seahorses and seadragons.
“Are they real? Do they really exist?”, DKHQ is often asked.
Yes, they are real and live in both tropical and cooler oceans across the globe.
Regarded by most as resembling half horse half fish, these gentle oceanic creatures spend their time slowly cruising amongst seagrass meadows, seaweed gardens and coral looking for small shrimp to eat.
Both seahorses and seadragons belong to the bony fish family, Syngnathidae, which also includes pipefish and pipehorses (a DKHQ marine fact for another day) .
Seahorses tend to have an upright vertical position while stationary or moving, while seadragons tend to have a horizontal stationary and moving position. Although seahorses and seadragons look different, they are closely related.
There are some AMAZING facts about seahorses and seadragons.
FACT 1: The seahorse and the seadragon are the only animals in the world where the male gives birth to the babies. Yes, you read correctly! The only animals in the world where the male gives birth. Female seahorses deposit their eggs into the male seahorse pouch where they are then fertilised. The male seahorse will carry the growing babies in the pouch until they are born, which is why some male seahorses look like they have a very big belly. This reproduction approach is very similar for seadragons, however, the male seadragon will carry the babies in pouches that are attached to their tail rather than in their belly.
FACT 2: Seadragons can only be found in the cooler waters across southern Australia and no where else in the world. The Weedy seadragon is Victoria’s marine state emblem, while the Leafy seadragon is South Australia’s marine state emblem.
FACT 3: If you have an opportunity to dive amongst the tropical reefs of South East Asia, keep your eye out for the pygmy seahorse. No bigger than an average sized thumb, pygmy seahorses will only live on specific types of coral.
The next time you are snorkelling or diving amongst seaweed gardens, seagrass meadows or coral reefs, keep your eyes open for a beautiful seahorse or seadragon.