AQWA operations manager Sasha Thompson continues her occasional series with a look at the weedy seadragon.
“Oooh Sea-Kangaroo!” This is one of my favourite quotes from a visitor to AQWA at Hillarys and was the excited exclamation as they saw a weedy seadragon for the first time.
The first time I saw one in the wild was diving in front of the Marmion Angling and Aquatic Club; I was following the curve of the reef and there was a distinct change in the sea grass and seaweeds covering the area; then just above the reef was a dragon.
Known as weedy or common seadragons, these unique creatures are not as elaborately decorated as their leafy cousins but they are definitely not drab.
What they lack in foliage is made up for in style as their intricate pattern of dots is reminiscent of indigenous art.
Found only in the southern waters of Australia, from Geraldton to the southern coast of Tasmania, the kangaroo-like tail is used as a pram to safely carry eggs until they hatch and the long snout vacuums up food.
Seadragons can also see in two directions at once as their eyes move independently of each other.
Having such rare and unique sea creatures right on our doorstep is a reminder of just how amazing our local marine environment is.
Having recently marked international biodiversity day, take time to wonder what marvels may lie below the waves next time you are driving past, walking along the beach or having a coffee and gazing out to sea.