Researchers Capture Footage of the Ruby Seadragon in the Wild for the First Time
Posted on January 14, 2017
Researchers have recorded the first video footage of a Ruby Seadragon in the wild. The researchers were led by scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and the Western Australian Museum. Before this recorded video the the Ruby Seadragon was known only from four preserved specimens. The scientific expedition took place off the coast of Western AustraliaThe researchers recorded the footage using a small remotely operated vehicle (miniROV). They also made observations of the seadragon habitat and behavior, including feeding. The footage confirmed that the Ruby Seadragon lacks elaborate dermal appendages common to all other seadragons.
Scripps graduate student Josefin Stiller says in a statement, "It was really quite an amazing moment. It never occurred to me that a seadragon could lack appendages because they are characterized by their beautiful camouflage leaves."
The researchers also discovered the Ruby Seadragon has a prehensile, or curled tail. They believe the seadragon may use its tail to "hold on to objects in the high-surge waters." They also observed the seadragon feeds by striking at prey, which is a common behavior to the species.
A research paper on the recordings was published here in Marine Biodiversity Records. Here is the video footage of the Ruby Seadragon: