Seadragons, Part 2: Diving in Sydney

By Leslee Matsushige, aquarium co-curator

Hello from Down Under!

Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor Greg Rouse and I arrived in Sydney on April 25 to a very windy day. We met up with  Nerida Wilson, a research scientist at the Australian Museum who’s also a Scripps research associate. Nerida has been studying seadragon biology with Greg for several years and is also part of our seadragon research team.

Greg Rouse and I preparing to dive in Botany Bay, Sydney.

Nerida Wilson and I, pre-dive at Botany Bay, Sydney. Brrr, it’s cold.

The blustery conditions didn’t stop us from diving into choppy Botany Bay to seek out the weedy seadragons. No luck on that first dive, but the following day I saw my first weedy seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) in the wild! It was one of the largest weedy seadragons I’d ever seen; I was so excited.

My first weedy seadragon in the wild (Botany Bay, Sydney)!

I was also intrigued by the other marine life such as the giant Australian cuttlefish (Specia apama). A curious eastern blue groper (Achoerodus viridisfollowed us during the entire dive. We even saw a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)!

Look at that face! A giant cuttlefish in Botany Bay, Sydney.

Who are you?: This Eastern blue groper followed us during our dive in Botany Bay, Sydney.

Green sea turtle in Botany Bay, Sydney.

Leafy seadragons do not occur in Sydney, so we need to wait until we dive in Adelaide to catch a glimpse of them. However, next up is a trip to the Sydney Aquarium to visit with an aquarist who takes care of their weedy seadragon exhibit.



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  • shelly
    April 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Wow! That Weedy just glows!

  • Mary Rose
    May 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Way to go Leslee. To see the weedy seadragons in their natural environment is awesome! Botany Bay name was used in an old Star Trek movie. Bring back photos for the tank labeling.

  • Dede Donovan
    May 3, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Thanks so much for these posts, Leslie. I love reading them. Please keep ’em coming!

    Dede Donovan
    (Mary Lowe’s friend)

  • Melissa Miller
    May 7, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Amazing Leslee! I was just in Sydney last month and only found out that seadragons could be seen from a beach dive once I arrived…if I’d known sooner I definitely would have braved the chilly waters. Seeing them in the wild must have been a memorable experience.

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography UC San Diego