leafy sea dragon #10 [156K]

In the wild, shallow-water leafy sea dragon specimens tend to be yellow or greenish in color, while deep-water (over 20 meters or about 65 feet) dragons tend toward brown or red. In the temperate southern and southwestern waters of their native Australia the yellow-green variety is more likely to be encountered, since divers understandably avoid the deeper off-shore reefs, frequented by Great White Sharks.

Unlike weedy sea dragons, leafies have never bred in captivity. Efforts continue and will hopefully be successful, especially since the IUCN (the World Conservation Union) has placed these animals on their Red List of Threatened Species. As aquarists learn to duplicate the conditions of nature in a captive environment, these efforts are more likely to succeed. Techniques include regulating the water temperature and the cyles of light. To simulate temperate ocean seasonal changes the water is changed from a nominal 55 degrees F to 66 degrees in the spawning season. Careful duplication of the seasonal intensity and duration of light can also enhance the chances of breeding.

Phycodurus eques

Leafy Sea Dragon page