Scientists Make Sea Horse Discovery in Shocking Place


Normally, you would find new aquatic species in an ocean. Recently, however, scientists in Australia discovered a new type of sea horse in a surprising place—a museum. This new species of sea horse is called Ruby Seadragon.

A student at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Josefin Stiller, was studying the two other types of seadragons—the Leafy Seadragon and the common seadragon—when he made the discovery. He found three specimens of the new species. The first, a male carrying babies, prompted scientists to return to the Western Australia fish archives, where they found two more of the same species. A DNA test confirmed that the Ruby Seadragon is indeed part of the sea horse family.

The newly-found seadragon has a vibrant red color and can only be found off the southern coast of Australia. In contrast, other sea horses typically live in many oceans and seas such as the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans as well as the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. Off the cost of Australia, scientists think that the Ruby Seadragons are able to camouflage deep in the water due to their red color.

All sea horses, including the Ruby Seadragons, have a snout, which acts like a tube and allows them to explore seaweed for little sea creatures which they suck towards their mouth as a food source. Their tough skin gives them some protection against small predators. Sea horses also use their tails to hold tight to seaweed or other sea horses.

While most sea horses are not threatened, some seadragons are "near threatened," which means they are at risk of becoming endangered. Hopefully that won't happen, because it is much better for seadragons to be alive in the ocean than dead in a museum.

[Sources: Popular Science; The Encyclopedia of Animals]

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