The ocean is a big place, and it's still full of mysteries. Scientists recently believed there were only two known species of seadragon: common and leafy. Then they took a fresh look at some preserved specimens and discovered a third: the ruby seadragon.
Last year, researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego and the Western Australian Museum tracked down these elusive creatures and captured the first known video footage of them in the wild.
Ruby seadragons don't have the fancy leaf-like appendages of their kin and they also sport a prehensile tail. "It never occurred to me that a seadragon could lack appendages because they are characterized by their beautiful camouflage leaves," says marine biologist Josefin Stiller, co-author of a paper published this month in Marine Biodiversity Records.
The ruby seadragon can be found in the deep waters of Western Australia in places difficult for divers to access, so the research team used a remote underwater vehicle to observe the creature in its habitat. They filmed its feeding behavior and confirmed its red coloration.
Scripps released the video footage, filmed in April 2016, on Thursday.
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