The Most Ornate Creature in the Sea

One of the most uniquely beautiful creatures in the sea, the leafy sea dragon lives up to its name. Covered in leaf-like skin filaments, this cousin to the seahorse mimics its environment in a way like no other. The leafy sea dragon is a master at camouflage, blending perfectly amongst the floating kelp beds in which it lives. The ornate leaf-like protrusions hanging from the head, body, and tail do not propel, only camouflage and match the exact color and shape of the kelp and seagrass in which they live, making them practically indistinguishable from their habitat.

The leafy sea dragon is also known as the Glauert’s sea dragon or locally as “leafies.” If you want to dive with leafy sea dragons, you will have to travel to a specific area of Australia as this species is only found along the southern and western coasts of Australia. They are typically larger than most seahorses, growing to 20-24 cm (8-9 in.) and feed on plankton and small crustaceans. Most common sightings by divers include Rapid Bay, Edithburgh, and Victor Harbor near Adelaide, South Australia. Explore the map below for specific dive sites to dive with leafy sea dragons on your next dive holiday.