Ruby Seadragon, Phyllopteryx dewysea Stiller, Wilson & Rouse 2015

A Ruby Seadragon, Phyllopteryx dewysea, found washed ashore on the cliffs at Point Culver, Western Australia - showing the pale stripe along the snout and the yellow tip on the tail. Source: Zoe Della Vedova / edited from Additional file 1, in Rouse et al. Marine Biodiversity Records (2017) 10:2 License: CC BY Attribution 4.0

A bright red seadragon with pink vertical bars on each trunk segment, paler markings on the snout, forward-pointing dorsal spines on the 11th trunk ring, no leaf-like dermal appendages, and a prehensile tail. 
This rare species occurs in deeper waters than the Common Seadragon, and was recognised as a new species while the authors were analyzing seadragon tissue samples.

Video of the Ruby Seadragon in the wild, filmed by a miniROV off Bremer Bay, Recherche Archipelago, south coast of Western Australia, depth 54 m.

Video showing a computer-generated 3D model of the holotype of the Ruby Seahorse.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Phyllopteryx dewysea in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 May 2024,

Ruby Seadragon, Phyllopteryx dewysea Stiller, Wilson & Rouse 2015

More Info


Endemic to west Western Australia, from the Recherche Archipelago to west of Garden Island, Perth region. One specimen was found washed ashore on Cottesloe Beach in 1919, and the other three were trawled in depths of 51-72 m a few kilometres offshore. More recently, a specimen was found washed ashore at Point Culver, 124°32'E, south Western Australia.


Trunk rings 18; head crest without appendage; pectoral area enlarged; dorsally enlarged spine on trunk ring 11 pointed forward; paired enlarged ventral spines on rings 8 and 17; body deepest behind dorsal spine on ring 12; spines on lateral trunk ridge not continuous with lateral tail ridges; ventrally on rings 3, 8, 17.


Like other seadragons, males of this species brood the developing eggs in a specialised area under the tail. The male holotype of the Ruby Seadragon was carrying several dozen embryos when collected.

Similar Species

The Common Seadragon, Phyllopteryx taeniolatus, resembles kelp or other macroalgae in colour.


The species is named for the American benefactor Mary ‘Dewy’ Lowe, for her love of the sea and her support of seadragon conservation and research, without which this new species would not have been discovered.

Species Citation

Phyllopteryx dewysea Stiller, Wilson & Rouse 2015, R. Soc. open sci.: 2 140458: 7, fig 1, 2a–f, 3c. Type locality: Australia, Western Australia, Recherche Archipelago, east of Middle Island, 51 m, 34°01.589′0 S, 123°21.55′0 E to 34°01.30′ S, 123°21.42′ E.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Ruby Seadragon, Phyllopteryx dewysea Stiller, Wilson & Rouse 2015


Aylesworth, L. & Pollom, R. 2016. Phyllopteryx dewysea. (errata version published in 2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T87568739A115514038. Downloaded on 06 June 2017.

Della Vedova Z. 2015. Rare ruby seadragon washes up on WA cliffs. http://www. Accessed 16 January 2017.

Rouse, G.W., Stiller, J. & Wilson, N.G. 2017. First live records of the ruby seadragon (Phyllopteryx dewysea, Syngnathidae). Marine Biodiversity Records 10(2): 4 pp. DOI: 10.1186/s41200-016-0102-x Open access

Stiller, J., N.G. Wilson & G.W. Rouse. 2015. A spectacular new species of seadragon (Syngnathidae). Royal Society open science 2: 140458.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37282140

Biology:Males brood the eggs

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Habitat:Sand/algal/sponge bottom

Max Size:26 cm TL

Max Size:51-72 m


Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map