Leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques)
The leafy seadragon is a marine fish in the family Syngnathidae, which also includes the seahorses. It is found along the southern and western coasts of Australia. The name is derived from the appearance, with long leaf-like protrusions coming from all over the body. These protrusions are not used for propulsion; they serve only as camouflage. The leafy seadragon propels itself by means of a pectoral fin on the ridge of its neck and a dorsal fin on its back closer to the tail end. These small fins are almost completely transparent and difficult to see as they undulate minutely to move the creature sedately through the water, completing the illusion of floating seaweed. The creature feeds by sucking up small crustaceans, such as amphipods and mysid shrimp, plankton, and larval fish through its long, pipe-like snout. Leafy seadragons usually live a solitary lifestyle. As with seahorses, the male leafy seadragon cares for the eggs. From the moment they hatch, leafy seadragons are completely independent. The leafy seadragon is considered Near Threatened by the IUCN!
photo credits: wiki, Julie Shuttleworth, ichthyologist