The Spiny Seadragon, Solegnathus spinossissimus, is an amazingly beautiful fish which straddled the definition of what it means to be a pipefish and a seadragon. The spiny Seadragon is a coldwater species restricted to the Southern Australian and New Zealand waters but they are most often seen around New Zealand where they can be found in diving depths.
The Spiny Seadragon shares part of it’s name with the Leafy and Weedy Seadragons which are somewhat closely related, however Solegnathus has no appendages like it’s elaborately finned Seadragon cousins. We don’t expect to see Spiny Seadragons in the aquarium trade but it would be awesome to see some in a public aquarium setting.
Like many temperate Synganthids the Spiny Seadragon can grow to a decent size, with some individuals having been measured at nearly 18 inches long, or 49cm. These photographs were made by Dr. Paddy Ryan while diving the Southern Region of New Zealand and they are some of the only photographs of live Solegnathus spinosissimus available anywhere, and definitely the best.
Dr. Ryan shot a whole photo session of this species, capturing many angles of this unique fish which are posted after the break. Huge thanks to Dr. Ryan for letting us share these images with you; there are many more exquisite examples on the Ryan Photographic website.