Weedy Seadragon Trivia

Weedy Seadragon

Do you think you know the weedy seadragon? Test your knowledge of weedy seadragon FaunaFacts with this trivia quiz!f

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The weedy seadragon is the only member of its genus.
False
The weedy seadragon was previously the only member of its genus until the description of the ruby seadragon in 2015.
True

To what continent is the weedy seadragon endemic?
Australia
The weedy seadragon is endemic to Australia. It can be found along much of the southern Australian coastline, from near Newcastle and Port Stephens, New South Wales (approximately 32° 56’S) southwards to Actaeon Island, Tasmania (43°32’S) and westwards through Victoria and South Australia to Geraldton, Western Australia (28°46’S).
Asia
South America
Africa

What is the weedy seadragon’s diet?
Carnivore
The weedy seadragon is a carnivore.
Herbivore
Omnivore

In what marine habitat does the weedy seadragon reside?
Neritic
The weedy seadragon is a marine neritic animal that inhabits rocky reefs, seaweed beds, sea grass meadows, kelp gardens, and sandy areas. They occur over rocky reefs with algae supporting strands of kelp or other macroalgae or over adjacent stretches of seagrass and sand where they feed on mysids and small crustaceans.
Oceanic
Intertidal
Coastal/Supratidal

How long can a weedy seadragon grow?
45 cm. / 18 in.
A weedy sea dragon reaches 45 centimeters, or 18 inches, in length.
15 cm. / 6 in.
30 cm. / 12 in.
60 cm. / 24 in.

There are species-specific conservation measures in place for the weedy seadragon.
False
There are no species-specific conservation measures in place for the species.
True

What attribute originated the weedy seadragon’s name?
Leaf-Like Appendages
The weedy seadragon is named for its varying number of small, leaf-like appendages, either paired or single, along its body.
Kelp Habitat
Colorful Skin
Long, Thin Body

Where do weedy seadragons hold their eggs?
Tail
Like their relatives the seahorses, male weedy seadragons carry and brood the developing eggs externally below their tail.
Mouth
Neck
Fins

Weedy seadragons have teeth.
False
Weedy seadragons have no teeth.
True

Weedy seadragons have prehensile tails to clasp and anchor themselves to seaweed.
False
Though they are similar in appearance to seahorses, which use a prehensile tail to clasp and anchor themselves to seaweed, weedy seadragons do not have prehensile, gripping tails. Instead, weedy seadragons appear to use their tails for steering.
True

What color are weedy seadragon eggs?
Red
Weedy seadragon eggs are ruby-colored that look like small, red grapes.
White
Yellow
Blue

What is the weedy seadragon listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
Least Concern
The weedy seadragon is listed as “Least Concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Near Threatened
Vulnerable
Endangered

What threatens the weedy seadragon?
Habitat Loss
The weedy seadragon is primarily threatened by habitat degradation and loss due to pollution and sedimentation, especially in urban areas. It is likely given that invasive species are also of concern.
Pollution
The weedy seadragon is primarily threatened by habitat degradation and loss due to pollution and sedimentation, especially in urban areas. It is likely given that invasive species are also of concern.
Invasive Species
The weedy seadragon is primarily threatened by habitat degradation and loss due to pollution and sedimentation, especially in urban areas. It is likely given that invasive species are also of concern.
Bycatch

What is an invasive species for the weedy seadragon?
Sea Urchin
Invasive species including urchins that degrade kelp habitat are an issue for weedy seadragons and may be contributing to declines.
Giant Kelp
Rock Lobster
Leafy Seadragon

How does the loss of giant kelp affect the weedy seadragon?
Increases Water Temperatures
Significant losses of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) have been documented over the past 20 years, associated with increased water temperatures. The reduction in macroalgae could adversely affect seadragons although this has not been demonstrated.
Reduces Macroalgae
Significant losses of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) have been documented over the past 20 years, associated with increased water temperatures. The reduction in macroalgae could adversely affect seadragons although this has not been demonstrated.
Reduces Oxygen
Reduces Competition

There have been numerous range-wide population estimates made for the weedy seadragon.
False
To date, there has been no range-wide population estimates made for the weedy seadragon, but several local studies have occurred. Further research and monitoring are needed in order to determine population size and trends in abundance for this species.
True

What is the parental investment of the weedy seadragon?
None
After the female weedy seadragon deposits the eggs into the male’s brood patch and the male carries the eggs until they hatch, the young receive no parental care because they are released into the external environment.
Maternal
Paternal
Maternal & Paternal

The weedy seadragon negatively affects humans.
False
The peaceful weedy seadragon does not in any way negatively affect the human species.
True

Weedy seadragons are immobile.
False
Weedy seadragons are not sessile or immobile, but they are not very good swimmers, either.
True

How do weedy seadragons differ from leafy seadragons?
Rarity
The leafy seadragon is found in the same geographic range as the weedy seadragon, but it differs in appearance as it has many more leaf-like appendages. Weedy seadragons are also much more common than leafy seadragons.
Number of Appendages
The leafy seadragon is found in the same geographic range as the weedy seadragon, but it differs in appearance as it has many more leaf-like appendages. Weedy seadragons are also much more common than leafy seadragons.
Geographic Range
Conservation Status

How many weedy seadragon offspring generally survive?
60-120
Only 60-120 offspring will survive, while the others will fall prey to sea anemones.
6-12
600-1,200
120-240

Which sex of weedy seadragon carries the eggs after fertilization?
Male
Like their relatives the seahorses, male weedy seadragons carry and brood the developing eggs.
Female
Male & Female
Neither

How many eggs do weedy seadragons lay?
120-250
Weedy seadragons lay 120-250 eggs.
12-25
1,200-2,500
250-500

How long do weedy seadragons incubate their eggs?
2 Months
After an incubation time of about eight weeks, the eggs hatch over a period of a couple days.
1 Month
2 Weeks
5 Months

What water depth does the weedy seadragon prefer?
8-50 m. / 26-164 ft.
Although weedy seadragons have a broad range of habitat, they have very specific requirements. The water must be between 8-50 meters deep (26-164 feet), although they most often are found between 8 and 12 meters deep (26-39 feet).
0-7 m. / 0-22 ft.
51-107 m. / 167-351 ft.
108-150 m. / 354-492 ft.

The weedy seadragon is exploited for the aquarium trade at high levels that are of conservation concern.
False
The weedy seadragon is exploited for the aquarium trade at low levels that are not likely of conservation concern. The volume of wild-caught individuals is small and therefore not currently a major threat.
True

What does the weedy seadragon eat?
Shrimp
The weedy seadragon feeds on mysid shrimps, carid shrimps, prawns of the genus Lucifer, sea lice, larval fish, zooplankton, and other small crustaceans.
Lobster
Kelp
Sea Urchin

What color are the stripes along the weedy seadragon’s upper body?
Blue
The beautiful colors of this seadragon are highlighted by the seven iridescent blue-violet bands along the upper body near the head.
Red
Yellow
Green

The weedy seadragon is legally protected from exploitation and is subject to strict export controls.
True
Along with all syngnathids, the weedy seadragon is protected from exploitation by the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999. They are legally protected in both New South Wales and Tasmania and are subject to strict export controls. It is illegal to take or export weedy seadragons in most of the states within which they occur.
False

The weedy seadragon promotes tourism.
True
Many people go scuba diving off the coast of southern Australia specifically to see weedy seadragons, which, therefore, promotes tourism.
False

When is the weedy seadragon breeding season?
July-January
The breeding season for weedy seadragons is generally July to January, but reproduction occurs later, October to March, in Tasmanian waters.
February-June

What is the survival rate of young weedy seadragons in captivity?
60%
The survival rate for young weedy seadragons is low in the wild, but is about 60% in captivity.
10%
30%
90%

Like other syngnathids, the weedy seadragon is a victim of bycatch and a target of traditional Chinese medicine.
False
Unlike other syngnathids, the weedy seadragon is not presently a victim of bycatch or a target of trade in traditional Chinese medicine. These activities are currently a threat to many related seahorse and pipefish populations, as members of these species have often been used in Asia as aphrodisiacs and other medicines.
True

Weedy seadragon mating and pregnancies in captivity are common.
False
Weedy seadragon mating and pregnancies in captivity are rare.
True

Which oceans does the weedy seadragon inhabit?
Indian
The weedy seadragon is endemic to the Australian waters of the Eastern Indian Ocean and the South Western Pacific Ocean.
Pacific
The weedy seadragon is endemic to the Australian waters of the Eastern Indian Ocean and the South Western Pacific Ocean.
Atlantic
Arctic

What water temperature does the weedy seadragon prefer?
12-23°C / 53-73°F
Although weedy seadragons have a broad range of habitat, they have very specific requirements. The water must be between 12 and 23 degrees Celsius (53-73 degrees Fahrenheit).
0-11°C / 32-52°F
24-35°C / 75-95°F
36-47°C / 97-117°F

What is the weedy seadragon’s primary defense mechanism?
Camouflage
The weedy seadragon’s primary defense mechanism is its camouflage abilities. Their small, purple, leaf-like appendages have a black border and provide the fish camouflage and protection in its habitat because they resemble floating kelp fronds and seaweed.
Swimming Abilities
Venom
Spines

Weedy seadragons are great swimmers and are fast-moving.
False
Weedy seadragons are not good swimmers, they are slow-moving and drift in the water with their life-like appendages resembling the swaying seaweed of their habitat.
True

When do weedy seadragons reach sexual maturity?
1-2 Years
Some individuals mature in one year, but most usually breed in their second year when fully grown. Weedy seadragons usually take about 28 months to reach sexual maturity.
1-2 Weeks
1-2 Months
2-4 Years

Researchers understand what biological or environmental factors trigger weedy seadragons to reproduce.
False
Researchers have yet to understand what biological or environmental factors trigger weedy seadragons to reproduce.
True

Weedy seadragons feed by way of suction.
True
Weedy seadragons feed by way of suction. Their pipe-like terminal mouth has an intricate system of bones pulled by muscles to create a strong suction force that is directed at food.
False

How many subspecies of weedy seadragons are recognized?
0
The weedy seadragon has no subspecies.
2
5
10

Are weedy seadragons sexually dimorphic?
Yes, females are larger and lighter in color.
Weedy sea dragons are sexually dimorphic, as males have narrower bodies and are darker than females.
Yes, males are larger and lighter in color.
No.

The weedy seadragon’s reproductive strategies are well documented.
True
The weedy seadragon’s reproductive strategies are well documented.
False

How many broods will a weedy seadragon have each breeding season?
2
Males brood two batches of eggs per breeding season, and females are also able to produce multiple broods per season.
1
3
5

How long can a weedy seadragon live?
6-10 Years
Most weedy seadragons live for up to six years, but increased longevity has been documented at some latitudes. Slower growth and high survival, as exhibited at higher latitudes, lead to increased longevity, and in the more southerly portion of its range this species is suspected to have a longer lifespan, likely exceeding 10 years.
1-3 Years
12-16 Years
22-26 years

What is the weedy seadragon’s scientific name?
Phyllopteryx taeniolatus
The weedy seadragon’s scientific name is Phyllopteryx taeniolatus.
Phyllopteryx dewysea
Phycodurus eques
Haliichthys taeniophorus

What is the weedy seadragon’s closest relative?
Ruby Seadragon
The weedy seadragon is most closely related to the other member of its genus, the ruby seadragon (Phyllopteryx dewysea).
Leafy Seadragon
Common Seadragon
Lucas’ Seadragon

Weedy seadragons are generally social.
False
Most of the time, weedy seadragons are solitary, and are observed on their own or in pairs. However, larger grouping has been observed. In the Sydney area and in southern New South Wales, aggregations of between 20 and 40 seadragons have been observed, respectively.
True

The weedy seadragon is the marine emblem for which Australian state?
Victoria
The weedy seadragon is the marine emblem of the Australian State of Victoria.
New South Wales
Queensland
South Australia

Seadragons, seahorses, and pipefish are the only species in which the male carries the eggs.
True
Seadragons, seahorses, and pipefish are the only species in which the male carries the eggs.
False

Weedy seadragons have broad, overlapping home ranges that can vary in length.
True
Weedy seadragon individuals have been shown to have broad, overlapping home ranges that can vary in length from 50–150 meters, and be up to 50 meters wide.
False

What are the weedy seadragon’s alternate names?
Common Seadragon
The weedy seadragon is also known as the common seadragon and Lucas’ seadragon.
Lucas’ Seadragon
The weedy seadragon is also known as the common seadragon and Lucas’ seadragon.
Leafy Seadragon
Ruby Seadragon

What prevents weedy seadragons from being good swimmers?
Dermal Plates
Weedy seadragons are not very good swimmers because their bodies are surrounded by protective dermal plates, which inhibit their mobility. Also, they lack a caudal fin, and therefore must rely on their ventral and dorsal fins for swimming.
Lack of Caudal Fin
Weedy seadragons are not very good swimmers because their bodies are surrounded by protective dermal plates, which inhibit their mobility. Also, they lack a caudal fin, and therefore must rely on their ventral and dorsal fins for swimming.
Long Dorsal Fin
Ventral Fins

Where do weedy seadragons breed later than usual?
Tasmania
Weedy seadragon reproduction occurs later, October to March, in Tasmanian waters.
Victoria
South Australia
West Australia

Depending on where they are found latitudinally, weedy seadragons can exhibit variable growth and survival rates.
True
Depending on where they are found latitudinally, weedy seadragons can exhibit variable growth and survival rates. Slower growth and high survival, as exhibited at higher latitudes, lead to increased longevity, and in the more southerly portion of its range this species is suspected to have a longer lifespan.
False

How much did you know about the weedy seadragon? Share your results in the comments!

Learn More About the Weedy Seadragon

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