Weedy seadragon

Common Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus.
Image: Mark Norman / Museums Victoria
Community type

Reef fish

Habitat type

Rocky reefs, kelp beds and inter-tidal zone

Weedy seadragons are found only in southern Australia, inhabiting kelp forests, seagrass meadows and sponge gardens to depths of 50 m. Growing up to 46 cm long, the seadragon’s leafy body and special colours provide excellent camouflage among seaweed. As they are poor swimmers, they rely on this camouflage to hunt small crustaceans, sucking them into their long snouts with surprising power. Weedy seadragons are one of the few species in the world whose males take care of the eggs. Females lay up to 250 eggs on the inside of the males’ tail, and he carries them with him until they hatch. Weedy seadragons are very shy creatures, and seeing one is a special experience. Most sightings in Tasmania occur near Bruny Island, but they are also regularly sighted in the Derwent estuary on rocky reefs between Kingston and Blackmans Bay. The disappearance of kelp forests is a big threat to these special creatures, which may become endangered in the near future.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.