ATLANTA (May 9, 2016) – Georgia Aquarium received quite a few colorful Mother’s Day additions this past week. There are 27 weedy seadragons at the Aquarium and one of them is currently expecting several dozen eggs to hatch in the next 35-60 days. The hatching of these eggs is a significant event as only six institutions in the US have successfully bred weedy seadragons. This is the seventh time Georgia Aquarium has bred weedy seadragons.
Weedy seadragons belong to the same family as sea horses, Syngnathidae, and both have a unique way of “giving birth.” The female weedy lays up to 250 to 300 eggs onto the underside of the male weedy’s tail. The eggs are embedded in the skin of the male and hard, cup-like structures form around each egg to hold and protect it. The males carry these eggs for the entirety of the brooding. Bright pink eggs hatch about two months later and once they hatch they are on their own as there is no parental care. Juveniles closely resemble the adults, albeit smaller and less colorful.
These fish are known for their vibrant colors, leaf-like fins, and frilly appendages. Their body and form help them camouflage into seaweed and sea grass beds. They are commonly olive-colored on the back, light yellow through their body with dark blue lines running along their trunk regions. Their leafy appendages are purple, adding to their picturesque quality. Seadragons are listed as “Near Threatened” on the International Conservation of Union Red List and are highly protected in their native Australia.
They feast on tiny, almost invisible mysid shrimp – which is the most expensive food the Aquarium provides at approximately seven cents a shrimp. These slow swimmers can eat several hundred mysid shrimp a day.
Once the eggs hatch, the “newborns” will remain in a behind the scenes area for the time being before joining their adult counterparts in Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest.
ABOUT GEORGIA AQUARIUM
Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that contains more than 10 million gallons of water and has the largest collection of aquatic animals. Georgia Aquarium’s mission is to be a scientific institution that entertains and educates, features exhibits and programs of the highest standards, and offers engaging and exciting guest experiences that promote the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.