Going Wild: Sea Dragons!UPDATED 9:56 PM HST Jul 04, 2014Video Transcript
seaweed. Weedy sea dragons are only found along the southern and western coasts of Australia, making them high in demand. But one research group in Hawaii is trying to successfully breed them for their own good. KITV4's Ashley Moser explains in this week's edition of Going Wild. Malini 27:18 "FOR ANYONE WHO'S EVER SEEN A SEADRAGON, ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE THEM IS BREATHTAKING." 27:23 A remarkable creature that can grow up to 10 inches long. But biologists say sighting one of these guys is rare. One -- because weedy sea dragons are only found in Australia and two they are rarely kept in exhibits. Malini 27:53 "SEA DRAGONS HAVEN'T REALLY BEEN KEPT IN CAPTIVITY FOR VERY LONG AND AT THE MOMENT ONLY A FEW AQUARIUMS HAVE MANAGED TO BREED THEM SUCCESSFULLY." 28:02 And that's exactly what Waikiki Aquarium biologist Malini Parker is trying to do. NAT feeding them Like their relative the seahorse -- biologists say males are the ones that carry the babies. Malini 33:50 "THE FEMALES WILL DEPOSIT THEIR EGGS ON THE UNDERSIDE OF THE MALES AND WHAT HAPPENS IS THAT THEY WILL STICK ON THERE AND THEN THEY WILL GET VASCULARIZED AND CARRY THEM TO FULL TERM." 34:02 After a small male dropped its eggs -- aquarium scientists adjusted their living conditions to make them as close to natural as possible. That included changing their water's temperature and by adding more mysis shrimp to their diet. Even the carotenoids in that shrimp -- helped their colors become more vibrant and attractive. Ashley Standup 24:07 "WHEN LOOKING AT THESE GUYS IT'S HARD TO MISS ALL OF THEIR EXTRA APPENDAGES. BIOLOGIST SAY THEY USE ALL 12 TO HELP THEM CAMOUFLAGE. MAKING THEM THE MORE ORNATE CREATURE OF THE SYNGNATHIDAE FAMILY." 24:20 So ornate that people try to illegally snatch them from the wild. But to combat that issue biologists are looking to breed them in exhibits to take pressure off the wild population. Malini 28:28 "INSTEAD OF PEOPLE LOOKING TO THE NATURAL POPULATION TO GET ANIMALS. THEY WILL WILL BE ABLE TO GET THEM FROM OTHER AQUARIUMS." 28:35 Just one of the many reasons biologist are trying to educated people about this species -- saying 'you can't conserve what you don't know'. Ashley Moser -- KITV 4 News. Starting today you can see these guys for the first time EVER -- along with seahorses and pipefishes in the Waikiki Aquarium's new Syngnathid Exhibit.