Weedy Seadragons

Weedy Seadragons are found only in the temperate waters around Australia in seagrass beds, rocky reefs and shallow sandy areas. Today, Weedy Seadragons face a number of challenges in the wild due to climate change, compromised habitats and destructive fishing practices.

Photo by Erik Jepsen

Dancing Dragons

Like seahorses, seadragon males — not females — are responsible for carrying eggs. An egg transfer is quick, but occurs only after the seadragons participate in an elaborate courtship “dance.” The male and female mirror each other, often with their tails curled away from their mate, moving up and down in the water column as their body coloration brightens, becoming iridescent. This dance is essential for successfully transferring eggs from the female onto the male’s tail, where he then fertilizes and hosts the eggs.

Seadragons & Seahorses features one of the largest seadragon habitats in the world. It was designed to create an ideal environment to breed seadragons. The stunning display is 18-feet wide, 9-foot-tall and holds 5,375 gallons of water.

Securing the Future of Seadragons

As a leader in seadragon care and conservation, Birch Aquarium has been studying the secrets of seadragons both in the wild and at the aquarium for more than two decades. This work has revealed a wealth of information about their behavior, genetics, life history and more. In 2012, the aquarium launched its Seadragon Breeding Program in an effort to alleviate pressure on wild populations. The hope is that captive breeding programs will lead to fewer seadragons being collected from their native habitat, which is already under increasing pressure due to climate change.

Babies Born at Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium welcomed more than 70 baby Weedy Seadragons to the aquarium, which are incredibly difficult to breed and rear in captivity. These little ones started hatching on Sunday, February 26, 2023 and continued hatching through Thursday, March 2, 2023.

Birch Aquarium bred and successfully hatched two rare Weedy Seadragons for the first time in aquarium history. The two baby Weedy Seadragons were born on February 11 and 12, 2020.

Seadragon feedings

Watch our Weedy Seadragons use stealth and speed to snap up a meal! These unique fish use their long, thin snouts to create a strong suction to capture small prey like mysid shrimp.