Researchers Capture a First Glimpse of the Newly Discovered Ruby Sea Dragon in Its Natural Habitat

In April 2016, a dedicated team of researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the Western Australian Museum set off in the waters of southwest Australia to try to search for a newly-discovered third species of sea dragon known as the Ruby Sea Dragon. The team launched a Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) that could dive down deep enough below the surface where captured the very first images of a live bright red syngnathidae swimming around in their natural habitat. A live specimen had never been seen before.

Researchers at Scripps Oceanography and the Western Australian Museum capture on video the first-ever field sighting of the newly discovered third species of seadragon. As they observed two Ruby Seadragons on video for nearly 30 minutes, the scientists uncovered new details about their anatomy, habitat, and behavior.

A photo posted by Greg Rouse (@drverm) on

#novataxa #marine #fish #Ichthyology • 2015: #Phyllopteryx dewysea • A Spectacular #NewSpecies of #Seadragon (#Syngnathidae) from #Australia Abstract: The exploration of Earth's #biodiversity is an exciting and ongoing endeavour. Here, we report a new species of seadragon from Western Australia with substantial morphological and genetic differences to the only two other known species. We describe it as Phyllopteryx dewysea n. sp. Although the #LeafySeadragon (#Phycodurus eques) and the common #WeedySeadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) occur along Australia's southern coast, generally among relatively shallow #macroalgal reefs, the new species was found more offshore in slightly deeper waters. The #holotype was trawled east of the remote Recherche Archipelago in 51 m; additional specimens extend the distribution west to Perth in 72 m. Molecular sequence data show clear divergence from the other seadragons (7.4–13.1% uncorrected divergence in #mitochondrialDNA) and support a placement as the sister-species to the common seadragon. Radiographs and micro-computed tomography were used on the holotype of the new species and revealed unique features, in addition to its unusual red coloration. The discovery provides a spectacular example of the surprises still hidden in our oceans, even in relatively shallow waters. Josefin Stiller, Nerida G. Wilson and Greg W. Rouse. 2015. . Royal Society Open Science. DOI: #RubySeaDragon #pipefish #seahorse #biodiversity #ocean

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via New York Times

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.