A team of researchers has made a surprising discovery: a new species of sea dragon that is ruby red in color.
This is the first species of sea dragon discovered in more than 10 years and scientists are very excited of the new findings.
Nerida Wilson, a marine biologist at the Western Australia Museum, said that before this recent discovery, the scientists believed there were only two living species of sea dragons. But nature is always taking researchers by surprise and revealed to them a new species.
Wilson says that if they overlooked this new species for such a long time, surely there will be more exciting discoveries in the future.
The latest discovery was detailed in a study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
The researchers came across the new species of sea dragon when they were analyzing data from tissue samples collected in 2007.
They discovered that the data they were studying did not match to that of any known species of sea dragons. They were surprised to acknowledge the samples came from an unidentified species.
According to the researchers, sea dragons are close relatives with seahorses and pipefish, and they only live off southern Australia.
National Geographic explains that sea dragons are characterized by very long and very thin snouts, with thin trunks covered in bony rings. The sea dragons have thin tails which they cannot use for gripping, unlike the seahorse.
These tiny creatures have small, transparent dorsal and pectoral fins they use for swimming through the water.
Their menu consists of small crustaceans, including sea lice and mysids. The scientists have not figured out yet whether the sea dragons are preyed upon other species.
The recently discovered red sea dragon was named Phyllopteryx dewysea, and it looks very different from other species of leafy sea dragons.
The other species are usually yellow, brown or purplish. The researchers assume that the red color of the new species of sea dragon helps it camouflage better in the deep waters where it dwells.
The scientists who discovered the ruby red sea dragon said that this is a great example of the surprising things waiting to be found in the oceans.
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