We’ve created a fun new infographic that tells the tale of creatures that look so magical, it’s hard to believe they’re real: sea dragons!
Leafy sea dragons (like the star of our latest children’s book, Mira, the Misfit Sea Dragon), are simply astounding in their ability to blend in with the surrounding seaweed — by having fins that look exactly like the seaweed itself:(Haven’t gotten our new book yet? It’s a heartwarming story about finding what you’re made for…featuring real ocean animals of course! Click here to see how we illustrate and here to see it on Amazon, preview included.)
Sea dragons are a marvel, and one of our favorite creatures to share with students, who are often in utter disbelief that such a creature exists!
So what exactly are sea dragons? They are a type of fish closely related to seahorses. They have a skeleton made of bone, gills for breathing, and are covered with hard bony plates.
There are only 3 species of sea dragons, and they all live off the coast of Australia. They are the kings and queens of camouflage! Weedy sea dragons and leafy sea dragons have a spectacular array of fins that look just like the seaweeds and grasses that they live in. What a marvelous adaptation for blending in!
The most recently discovered sea dragon (just in 2015!), called the ruby sea dragon, lacks the elaborate fins and instead relies on its red coloration for camouflage. Yep, as you go deeper in the ocean, red fades to black because of how light is absorbed by water molecules. Unlike on land, being red actually helps creatures go in stealth mode.
Sea dragons are snacking machines! All day long, they slurp up drifting morsels of food (plankton) like mysid shrimp, fish larvae, and other tiny creatures floating by. Their long, narrow snouts are the perfect eating utensil to help them suck up all sorts of munchies. It’s a built-in straw!
Being only found off the coast of Australia, sea dragons are quite the exotic animal! They are protected by Australian laws, and are vulnerable to many human effects such as pollution, habitat destruction, fertilizer use, and warming temperatures.
We hope you enjoyed learning and marveling with us about sea dragons! Want more sea dragon love? Here are some activities, videos, and more reading:
Free Sea Dragon Activity Pack to go with Mira, the Misfit Sea Dragon (printable game, coloring sheets, and bookmarks):
DIY Camouglage Sea Dragon Craft:
Video of a leafy sea dragon swimming:
Ruby Sea Dragon:
New Sea Dragon Species Flaunts Ruby-Red Skin
For the First Time, a Ruby Red Sea Dragon Flaunts in Front of the Camera (video in article)
Weedy Sea Dragon:
National Geographic Weedy Sea Dragon
Aquarium of the Pacific: Weedy Sea Dragon
Leafy Sea Dragon:
National Geographic Leafy Sea Dragon
Aquarium of the Pacific: Leafy Sea Dragon
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