Meet the Sea Moth

By Richard Aspinall 3 years ago
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RCA_2245I was on a reef recently, in the entirely frustrating pursuit of photographing a seahorse, which for some reason I cannot do, when I came across a pair of Little Dragonfish (Eurypegasus draconis), aka the Sea Moth. RCA_1957I’ve long wanted to see one of these interesting little animals, which, according to some accounts, are far more common as a group than we are aware, being so well-camouflaged. In fact, it took me an awfully long time to see what my very excited dive buddy was trying to show me. These oddballs live on gravel and sandy substrates and can over time, alter their patternation to blend in with their territory, which the male will defend. To me, they look like some sort of strange mixture of seahorse, gurnard, and squashed frog, and you can see that their large pectoral fins supply their name. I understand there are two species within the Eurypegasus order: this one from the Indo-Pacific, and the Hawaiian E. papilo, and if my online search is correct there are three species in the Pegasus order as well. They can be kept in captivity, but all species are listed by the IUCN as Vulnerable or Data Deficient and they are a challenge by all accounts, needing a constant supply of very small crustaceans, so it’s best to leave them in the ocean unless you have experience with feeding other very demanding species.

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About

 Richard Aspinall

  (309 articles)

Richard lives in Scotland where he works as a freelance writer and photographer. Richard writes for several magazines on topics as diverse as scuba diving, travel and wildlife.

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