A new disease has been discovered; a disease that effects both Leafy seadragons (Phycodurus eques) and Weedy seadragons (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus).

47396 sea dragon 1 New disease discovered in seadragons

The disease, which as now been described by veterinary pathologists, is a type of melanised fungus that causes extensive lesions and necrosis of the gills, kidneys and other areas of the body in seadragons. The disease was discovered in seadragons kept in aquariums.

Experts from the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science at the University of Connecticut has identified the presence of both Exophiala angulospora and an undescribed Exophiala fungus in sick seadragons.

You can find more information in the paper[1] by Nyaoke et al published in the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation[2] in January this year.

The Leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques) and the Weedy seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) are both marine fish species belonging to the same family as seahorses and pipefish. The Leafy seadragon is covered in long leaf-like protrusions that serve as camouflage, while the Weedy seadragon is camouflaged by weed-like projections. Both species are native to Australian waters.

[1] Nyaoke A, Weber ES, Innis C, Stremme D, Dowd C, Hinckley L, Gorton T, Wickes B, Sutton D, de Hoog S, Frasca S Jr. (2009) – Disseminated phaeohyphomycosis in weedy seadragons (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) and leafy seadragons (Phycodurus eques) caused by species of Exophiala, including a novel species. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2009 Jan;21(1):69-79.

[2] http://jvdi.org/