A new mysterious species of Sedragon has been identified by experts from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California (San Diego). This new species is the third type of Seadragon discovered by researchers.
The other two species were named Leafy Seadragons and Common Seadragons while the new one was dubbed Ruby Seadragon, due to its brilliant red shading. Ruby Seadragon, scientifically called Phyllopteryx Dewysea, was found by scientists after examining tissue specimens from various museums. With photos and a full sample, the researchers had the possibility to confirm that the seadragon was undoubtedly another species.
The fact the new species was overlooked so far is mainly due to the lack of scientific instruments to clearly differentiate the species from each other. But now, thanks to DNA analysis researchers are discovering more new species which were disregarded before.
Greg Rouse, curator of the Scripps Benthic Invertebrate Collection noted in the wake of the discovery:
“We’re now in a golden age of taxonomy and these powerful DNA tools are making it possible for more new species than ever to be discovered.”
Rouse added that the fact that so many new marine species are still being discovered means there is still a lot of investigation to be carried out by the researchers.
Josefin Stiller initially discovered the first sample of the Ruby Seadragon. Stiller is graduate student at Scripps. The young researcher employed digital tomography scans to make virtual parts of the seadragon’s body. The 3-D model of the Ruby Seadragon uncovered that it has a different skeletal arrangement compared to the other two types of seadragons.
A second specimen of Ruby Seadragon was discovered by marine scientist Nerida Wilson of the Western Australian Museum (WAM). Wilson discovered two more specimens from the Australian National Fish Collection. As per the marine biologist those samples were simply lying there, unidentified.
Wilson explained that 150 years have passed since the last seadragon was detected during which time scientists thought there are only two species of the underwater creature. Wilson further expressed her enthusiasm about the new finding:
“Suddenly, there is a third species! If we can overlook such a charismatic new species for so long, we definitely have many more exciting discoveries awaiting us in the oceans.”
Seadragons belong to the group of seahorses. They are generally found in the shoreline of Australia. Researchers suspect that the Ruby Seadragon inhabits deeper waters compared to its two siblings.
Image Source: Washington Post