The Dragon of the Sea

Preview The weedy sea dragon male can hold around 250 eggs in his pouch.
(Bill, Flickr)

Just like other seahorse species, male weedy sea dragons are the ones to get 'pregnant' and give birth to the babies. To show he is ready to hold eggs, the male wrinkles part of his tail. On this signal, the female places around 250 eggs onto a brood patch that has small cup-like indentations, like a sponge. These ruby red eggs take eight weeks to hatch and when the young leave they are on their own. Unfortunately this leads to a low survival rate of only 60-120 of the original 250 eggs. However, this is not the reason the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN) lists them as near threatened: habitat loss and collection (either purposeful or accidental collection such as in bycatch) reduce the populations of these small creatures.