At Georgia Aquarium, we see dragons every day. They can’t fly and they don’t breathe fire but rather they move slowly through the water with frilly appendages. Weedy seadragons are known for their vibrant colors, leaf-like fins, and frilly appendages and are highly protected in their native Australia.
This year, Georgia Aquarium is proud to be the host of the Third International Seadragon Husbandry Symposium. This symposium joins biologists, nutritionists, veterinarians and field researchers to discuss the latest advances in sea dragon care, conservation and public display. This symposium will join over 50 people from all over the world to discuss these animals and advances in support of them.
Presentations and discussions at the symposium will focus on habitat design, life support, water quality, nutrition, reproduction, health, acquisition and long-term wild population conservation.
Georgia Aquarium is one of only six institutions in the U.S. to successfully breed weedy seadragons. Right before Mother’s Day in 2016, some of our weedy seadragons prepared for the seventh hatching at our facility.
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 with no parental care.
To learn more about the International Seadragon Husbandry Symposium and get exclusive looks from inside the meeting, follow along on Twitter @SeadragonATLmtg