The Leafy Sea Dragon (Phycodurus eques) is related to the more well-known seahorse, and like the seahorse, is an example of gender role reversal that has left the human female population in paroxysms of envy and amusement since the species was first discovered: female leafy sea dragons deposit as many as 250 bright-pink eggs to a “brood patch” on the male’s tale via a long tube. The male then incubates the eggs for 8 weeks until they mature and hatch, at which point the newborns are left to fend for themselves.
Because they are fragile and subject to numerous natural and man-made threats, sea dragons have become endangered, and are protectedfrom by the Australian government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act of 1999.* Thus far there have been no viable captive breeding programs, a fact that may be chalked up to male performance anxiety.**