Seadragons, Part 5: Diving at Flinder’s and Visting Melbourne Aquarium

By Leslee Matsushige, aquarium co-curator

I’m happy to report that our second trip to Flinder’s Jetty was a success!

If you recall, we were greeted with murky water during our first attempt to dive at the Jetty, a well known site for weedy seadragons. Strong northernly winds didn’t make us feel optimistic about our second try, but we were happy to find decent diving conditions when we arrived.

Flinder's Jetty

Flinder’s Jetty

We were not disappointed; we saw 25-30 seadragons here! It was incredibly exciting to see so many of them. There were little clouds of mysids shrimp (a main seadragon food source) over the sand patches in between sea grass and algae beds. I even got to see a few weedy seadragons feeding.

A weedy seadragon at Flinder's Jetty.

A weedy seadragon at Flinder’s Jetty.

Weedy seadragon blending in with the algae at Flinder's Jetty.

Weedy seadragon blending in with the algae at Flinder’s Jetty.

Check out the video of a seadragon swimming!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRVy3xt5H9o?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

Other interesting species spotted:

Toothbrush leatherjackets (Acanthaluteres spilomelanurus) at Flinder's Jetty.

Toothbrush leatherjackets (Acanthaluteres spilomelanurus) at Flinder’s Jetty.

Ornate Cowfish (Aracana ornata) at Flinder's Jetty (photo by Greg Rouse).

Ornate Cowfish (Aracana ornata) at Flinder’s Jetty (photo by Greg Rouse).

Morwong called a Magpie Perch (Cheilodactylus nigripes)

Morwong called a Magpie Perch (Cheilodactylus nigripes) at Flinder’s Jetty.

Anemones on Flinder's Jetty piling (photo by Greg Rouse).

Anemones on Flinder’s Jetty piling (photo by Greg Rouse).

After our dive we drove to the Melbourne Aquarium and met exhibit manager Alison Edmunds, who has successfully raised baby weedy seadragons for several years. I was eager to see how she has achieved this remarkable accomplishment. The aquarium has raised more than 60 weedy seadragons juveniles this year.

Entrance to the Melbourne Aquarium.

Entrance to the Melbourne Aquarium.

Close-up of the seadragon exhibit at the Melbourne Aquarium.

Close-up of the seadragon exhibit at the Melbourne Aquarium.

Seadragon exhibit at the Melbourne Aquarium.

Seadragon exhibit at the Melbourne Aquarium. Graphic highlights 2012 as the Chinese Year of the Dragon.

Alison Edmunds

Alison Edmunds, exhibit manager of the Melbourne Aquarium, showing me her seadragon exhibit.

Next up, we fly to Adelaide in search of the amazing leafy seadragons!

******

Update: December 2012

Part 8: Google+ Hangout

Part 7: The Great Barrier Reef

Part 6: Leafy seadragons

Part 5: Diving at Flinder’s and Visiting Melbourne Aquarium

Part 4: The Importance of this Trip

Part 3: Sydney Aquarium & Diving in Melbourne

Part 2: Diving in Sydney

Part 1: Traveling ‘Down Under’ to Study Seadragons

 

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  • patty elkus
    May 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Dear Leslee, how thrilling! Your photographs and narrative are superb. I will share with Rick and let’s schedule a visit out here when you return.

    Warm regards,
    Patty & Rick

  • fran stipe
    May 8, 2012 at 2:32 am

    are the seadragons in your video adults? larger then if in captivity or about the same, just curious..

    • Jessica Crawford
      May 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      Yes, the seadragon in the video is an adult. They are about the same size as in captivity.

  • Pattye brewer
    May 9, 2012 at 4:53 am

    Leslee! I am soooo excited and jealous for you! What an adventure! I can’t wait to pick your brain when you come back!! Pattye( old aquarist Assistant)

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography UC San Diego