The Ruby Seadragon (Phyllopteryx dewysea) is a seahorse-like specie of fish that live in different locations off the coast of Western Australia. They live in the deeper waters of the ocean, which is mostly dominated by sponges.
The Ruby Seadragon can grow up to a length of 15cm and its most distinct characteristic is its bright red color and lack of elaborate appendages common to other species. Another less obvious characteristic of the Ruby Seadragon is its curled tail which can’t be found in two other seadragon species.
This is what a Ruby Seadragon looks like. Notice how its appendages are less obvious as compared to other seadragon species?
Until its discovery in 2015, scientists have thought that there were only two species of seadragon. That makes the Ruby Seadragon the first seadragon to be discovered in 150 years!
Scientists from the Western Australia Museum and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography were able to collect some data on this rare seadragon between 1919 and 2007, but they have only ever seen their corpses and skeletons and never alive.
According to Scripps researcher Greg Rouse:
“We had very good details on where the fish in 2007 had been found, but very little other information to go on.
“We knew it was like finding a needle in a haystack to go and look for this thing.”
So Rouse’s team decided in 2016 to send an unmanned vehicle to scour the are where the Ruby Seadragon may be found. It took them four dives to finally capture a video of the elusive seadragon.
Their video was published on the Scripps Oceanography YouTube channel and it shows two specimens feeding and swimming. This shows us an interesting glimpse into how the Ruby Seadragon lives in its natural habitat.
Watch the video here:
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