Birth announcement. 📣
The aquarium shared this sweet video of the newborns who hatched between Feb. 26 and March 2, and are already fully independent. The babies each measure ~1 inch and weigh less than 1 gram. Eventually, they’ll grow to be 13-15 inches long.
The weedies and dad are doing well, but Birch Aquarium said the little ones will remain behind-the-scenes for up to a year so experts can closely monitor them and feed the “picky eaters” a special diet of tiny mysid shrimp.
Eventually, some may join the existing 16 adult Weedy Seadragons in the facility’s Seadragons & Seahorses exhibition, or be transferred to other institutions for further breeding and education programs.
The species — cousin of the seahorse and pipefish with “seaweed-like appendages” — is difficult to breed and raise in captivity. The aquarium said only a few facilities have been able to successfully do so, making this is a “huge” research milestone.
The last time a successful Weedy Seadragon egg transfer happened at Birch Aquarium was in 2020, when just two eggs hatched.
“We are poised to help this species with our conservation program,” said Jenn Nero Moffatt, Senior Director of Animal Care, Science and Conservation.
Fast Facts about Weedy Seadragons:
🌊 In the wild, they’re only found in temperate waters on the southern coast of Australia.
🌊 Their coloring and intricate appendages serve as camouflage, helping them blend in with kelp and seagrass to avoid predators.
🌊 In the seadragon world, the female lays hundreds of tiny eggs on a section of a male’s tail; the males carry the babies until they hatch — usually 4-6 weeks.