Rare Find: Ruby Seadragon First Caught On Video By UC San Diego ResearchersBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
Researchers from the University of California - San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography were able to film a rare appearance of the ruby seadragon. This is the first time that the fish has been seen alive.
National Geographic reported that the footage was filmed in Western Australia's Recherche Archipelago. The ruby seadragon is a beautifully colored and is related to seahorses.
It was declared a new species back in 2015 and is the first one discovered in 150 years. It is also just the third known seadragon species.The initial discovery of the species did not come from living ruby seadragons, though. It first came about from dead museum specimens.
Greg Rouse, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography biologist, graduate student Josefin Stiller and Western Australian Museum researcher Nerida Wilson discovered the species. This was a challenging find since ruby seadragons don't behave like its closest relatives, the common and leafy seadragons.
According to Quartz, a remote-controlled rover was sent by scientists to go 150 feet under the sea in April last year. It was able to catch a glimpse of the animal as it swam and caught small prey on the seafloor.
The scientists were able to get about 30 minutes of video. It showed new details about the animal's anatomy, behavior and habitat. One example of its unusual behavior is that it uses its curled tail to hold onto things, which is not done by other seadragon species.
Sci-News noted that the video showed that ruby seadragons lived at a depth of over 50 meters, which is way deeper than where other seadragon species lived at depths of three to 25 meters. It is also deeper than recreational SCUBA diving limits.
This is believed to be one of the primary reasons why ruby seadragons went undiscovered for years. The video also showed how it does not have dermal appendages, which is prominent in leafy and common seadragons.