Scientists at the University of California San Diego were dazzled by an extremely rare seadragon photographed for the first time in history. Commonly known as ruby seadragon, the mysterious creature is not one of those mythical beats found in fictional children’s books. The discovery yielded valuable information about the species vital for their protection.
Rare Ruby Seadragon Spotted
The team went all the way to Australia in search of the elusive creature, which became the third documented species of seadragon. Scientists working on the study did not expect to actually see a third species. The research found the ruby seadragon near the Recherche Archipelago in Western Australia, Eureka Alert reported.
Australia, however, is noted for its rich marine biodiversity, one of the richest in the world. The mission was in done in partnership with Total Marine Technology, which the underwater vehicle used to scan the seabed. Before, scientists created a model of a ruby seadragon using a preserved specimen, but this model turned out to be wrong.
Ruby Seadragon: An Elusive Creature
Using a remotely-operated vehicle with a camera, the team explored the sea reaching up to 164-feet deep. Not long enough, the team spotted the ruby seadragons, which they were able to observe for 30 minutes. According to the report, the expedition resulted in many discoveries about the species’ anatomy, habitat and their behavior.
They found out that unlike previous descriptions of the ruby seadragon, it actually lacks elaborate appendages. Marine biologists consider the appendages a common feature most seadragon share. But as it turned out, the newly-discovered species lacks the distinguishing characteristic.
Scripps Oceanography marine biologists Josefin Stiller, in the report, described her experience during the expedition. Although no one has really expected to come across a creature as rare as the ruby seadragon, it was a rewarding experience for them. She said that no one expected that the ruby seadragon has that peculiar feature.
“It was really quite an amazing moment. It never occurred to me that a seadragon could lack appendages because they are characterized by their beautiful camouflage leaves,” Stiller was quoted as saying by Eureka Alert. The study was published in the journal Marine Biodiversity Records last week.