PAUL ZAHL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL ZAHL / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Leafy sea dragon. View of a leafy sea dragon (Phycodurus eques). These fish, related to seahorses, live in the warm waters around southern and western Australia. They inhabit reeds and seagrass beds, where their leafy appendages provide excellent camouflage. The imitation of plants by animals is known as phytomimesis. Leafy sea dragons mainly eat small shrimp. They may grow to a length of up to half a metre. In common with other seahorses, it is the male leafy sea dragon which becomes pregnant, incubating the fertilised eggs in a special patch under its tail. It is a protected species, as illegal collection has reduced its numbers in the wild.
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