The Animal Facts Editorial Team
March 31, 2023 10:30 pm
Columbus Zoo, Ohio, The United States
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium will welcome guests in to their latest habitat for the weedy sea dragon on Monday April 10, 2023. The new arrivals, nicknamed ‘weedies,’ are found in the waters around Australia where they attempt to blend in with the seaweed.
Guests will find the new arrivals inside the aviary and nocturnal building at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Australia and Islands habitat. This space has been closed to guests since September 2022 when construction on the sea dragon habitat commenced. Alongside the new arrivals guests will be reunited with their favourites including various bird species, binturongs, tree kangaroos, feathertail gliders, and Glen the wombat.
As they approach the building they will find updated props and signage setting the tone for the upgrades which await inside. Once inside the building they will be immersed in an underwater world with 10 foot high murals, custom painted artwork, and unique projection animation–all leading to an impressive 6-foot tall, 5-foot-deep, and 10-foot-long weedy seadragon habitat.
“We are delighted to showcase these amazing members of the seahorse family. Weedy seadragons are exquisite fish, so well adapted to their environment. I know that our guests and members will be excited to see them, learn about them, and understand what we all can do to help protect our oceans and seas,” said Tom Schmid, President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Weedy sea dragons use their long snout to suck up crustaceans and fish eggs in the water to feed on.
While current listed as least concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and enjoying protection in their native range this species is increasingly threatened. Runoff from homes and industries pollute their homes and a mass die off event in 2022 saw 200 weedy seadragons from the Great Southern Reef wash ashore following severe storms.
The Weedy Sea Dragon is a close relative of the seahorses and similar to them they carry the eggs on a pouch which sits on the stomach of the male. He will carry them for eight weeks until they hatch.
Image: © Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
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