A long, not-so-lost relative of the leafy sea dragon, the weedy sea dragon is a sight you won’t want to miss – if you can spot one, that is!

These masters of camouflage know how to blend right in with their environment so they are not spotted by predators. Their leaf-like appendages grow from their reddish bodies, which also have yellow and purple markings to help them blend in with the sea weed that surrounds the sea floor. But the color, size and shape of the leafy appendages depend on the type and quality of their food supply.

Because they are not very fast or agile, weedy sea dragons rely on their camouflage for protection. They tend to drift in the water, making them look even more like a loose piece of sea weed. Like sea horses, male sea dragons also brood their young. They even slightly resemble their long-snouted, bony-plated relatives.

weedy sea dragon_jordanrobinsIf you want to catch a glimpse of these beautiful creatures, you will have to plan a trip to the western or southern coast of Australia. The species is listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List and is protected by the Australian government. These little guys are found in shallow waters, coral reefs, sea grass beds and seaweeds along the coast. They are also found near the southern tip of Tasmania.

Divemaster Jordan Robins shared an amazing photo of the weedy sea dragon that he shot on a dive in Jervis Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia, using a GoPro HERO3+. Follow him on Instagram (@jordan_robins) for more photos of his underwater adventures.

Visit the Critter Finder section of ScubaEarth to learn more about your favorite underwater critters and where to see them.

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