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Seahorse and Spiny Sea Dragon

SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's is the only place in the world to have Spiny Sea Dragon on display.

  • SEA LIFE, Seahorse Kingdom

Discover some of our species

Sea horses are truly fascinating animals, these creatures are technically fish although they do not resemble what you might think a fish should look like!

Bigbelly Seahorse 572X289

Big-bellied Seahorse

It is quite easy to distinguish male Big-bellied Seahorses from females - the males have a smooth soft pouch-like area at the base of its abdomen between where the stomach meets the tail on the front side. Males also have a fin here but it is less obvious. The female will have more of a pointed stomach with a very obvious fin at the base of the stomach.


The Big-bellied seahorse swims using its dorsal fin with a vertical stance - and when not swimming it coils its tail around any suitable growth, such as seaweed, waiting for planktonic animals to drift by.

Yellow Seahorse

Yellow Seahorse

Yellow Seahorses are smaller than the Big-bellied Seahorses, they are a more tropical species as well being found throughout the Pacific. An interesting feature of these animals is that they can alter the tone of their colour depending on the environment that they are in. The colour of their environment is the lead factor in determining their own colouration.

Spiny Sea Dragon

SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's is the first aquarium in the world to breed Spiny Sea Dragons. Sea Dragons take their cue from the environment when it comes to breeding, so in order to successfully breed them we need to be able to control the day length and water temperature to mimic the seasons.

These elusive creatures are generally found between 50-70m deep – sometimes even 100+ meters deep! In New Zealand however they are found in the shallower waters of the Milford Sound – the conditions in this area replicate those of the deep waters allowing sea dragons to live there happily. Very little is currently known about Spiny Sea Dragons, and having them at Kelly Tarlton's means that experts will be able to study them and learn about how we can potentially breed and protect them for future generations.

Seahorse Kingdom

Spiny Sea Dragon

They are recognisable by their long spiny body and long snout, and their vibrant orange skin with yellow and pink stripes. Our Spiny Sea dragons come from the unique ecological environment of New Zealand's Milford Sound. They are the only creatures of their kind able to be seen in any aquarium in the world!

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