Fun Dragonet Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 21, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Smriti Chaudhary
Dragonet facts about a unique type of marine fish.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

Dragonet is the common name of almost 200 species of marine fish belonging to the family Callionymidae. Found in warm temperate regions, predominantly in the Indo-Pacific region, dragonet fish are benthic organisms. The common dragonet (Callionymus Lyra) is the most common dragonet found in the United Kingdom. This beige and blue-colored fish is the largest member of its family. Another magnificent species is the mandarin dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus), a small but brightly colored fish that is very popular in the marine aquarium industry. Native to the Pacific, these reef-dwelling beauties earned their name due to their exuberant coloration, similar to the robes of an imperial person from Mandarin China. Japanese longtail dragonet and Hugeunin's dragonet are the two most abundant species of this family. 

All dragonet species have a similar feeding mechanism. They exist partially buried in the seabed with only their eyes visible. This is a type of defense mechanism. They are also foul-smelling and foul-tasting which makes them inedible to predators. A mandarin dragonet is a popular saltwater aquarium fish. They are sexually dimorphic and polygynous. Dominance hierarchies exist among males, and the fights between two males can be intense and aggressive. Even though they are given the Least Concern conservation status, their popularity in the aquarium industry is still threatening. They are cheap and are easily available as catching them from the wild is inexpensive.

To know more about this fascinating fish, we have gathered a set of interesting facts about them for you to read. You can also read other articles on Teira batfish and Toadfish.

Dragonet Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a dragonet?

Dragonets are a type of marine fish.

What class of animal does a dragonet belong to?

They belong to the class Actinopterygii of the family Callionymidae.

How many dragonets are there in the world?

Almost 200 species of dragonet fish have been discovered across the world. The common dragonet is the most common species found in the United Kingdom. However, there is no exact estimation of their total numbers.

Where does a dragonet live?

The common dragonet can be found in coastal waters in the eastern North Atlantic. They are widely distributed around Iceland, Norway, the western coasts of Europe, Mauritania, Madeira, the Canary Islands, the Azores, and the Faroes British Isles. They are also found in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

What is a dragonet's habitat?

Common dragonets are usually observed in the demersal zone of temperate waters of around 61-68 F (16-20 C). They can be found in the range between the littoral zone to depths of up to 1410 ft (430 m). They rest on the seabed, partially buried.

Who do dragonets live with?

They are usually solitary and do not live with other marine fish. They wait and hunt for prey alone.

How long does a dragonet live?

A common dragonet can live for five to seven years. The average lifespan for males is five years and for females, it is seven years.

How do they reproduce?

The courtship is considered to be elaborate, unlike many other fish. The reproduction process consists of four phases including courtship, pairing, ascending, and the releasing of the eggs and sperm. A male approaches a female during courtship and shows off its brightly colored body and fins, spreading its pectoral fins and erecting both dorsal fins. It lifts its head and opens its mouth wide and floats around the female. After repeatedly doing this, the female responds to this act. Consequently, they both ascend together, with the female resting on the pectoral fins of the male. After pairing, eggs and sperm are released to fertilize before they drift away. Their eggs are pelagic, and they float in water until they hatch.

What is their conservation status?

From the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this fish is listed under the status of Least Concern.

Dragonet Fun Facts

What do dragonets look like?

A common dragonet has a flat scaleless body with a triangular head. Their eyes are located close to each other on the top of their heads. They have large pelvic fins that are kept expanded. The first dorsal fin is triangular. They exhibit sexual dimorphism. Males are beige with bright blue spots and stripes, whereas females are pale brown and beige with no blue markings. Of the two dorsal fins, the first fin ray of males is longer than that of females.

Underwater view of a dragonet.

How cute are they?

Females are rather pale looking, but the male fish are vibrant and flaunt their brightly colored fins during the breeding season. With the brightly colored markings on their body, species of this family are magnificent beings. A mandarin dragonet is one of the prettiest in this fish species with its vivid coloration.

How do they communicate?

During courtship, males flaunt their colorful bodies and fins while simultaneously lifting their heads and opening their mouths. Mandarin dragonets deter predators using bitter-tasting, pungent-smelling secretions.

How big is a dragonet?

The size of a dragonet varies according to the species it belongs to. Common dragonets are the largest species of dragonets. An average female common dragonet can be as long as 7.87 in (20 cm) while a male can grow up to 11.81 in (30 cm). They are almost two to three times bigger than a mandarin dragonet fish (Synchiropus splendidus), another vibrant species of the dragonet family.

How fast can a dragonet swim?

Dragonet fish swim in four different ways concerning their need and situations. They resort to burst swimming during foraging, which is the highest speed a fish can attain. The other types observed are continuous swimming by males, rapid fleeing during attacking, and vertical swimming during reproduction. An exact estimate of their swimming speed is not available.

How much does a dragonet weigh?

An average common dragonet weighs around 6.34 oz (180 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for males and females. A dragonet, whether male or female, is commonly known as just a dragonet (Callionymidae). There are almost 200 species of dragonet fish.

What would you call a baby dragonet?

There is no specific or distinct name for a young or baby dragonet. Since they are a type of fish, they can be called 'fry', and when they transition to juveniles, they can be called 'fingerlings'.

What do they eat?

This species of dragonet fish feed on small invertebrates, copepods, and amphipods like crustaceans, worms, mollusks, and small shellfish found in the benthic zone. They feed by extending their jaws and drawing prey into their mouth by hiding amongst coral reefs and the sea bed.

Are they eaten by humans?

No, they are not eaten by humans. They have a slimy coating on their scaleless body that protects them from parasites. It could be poisonous, has a foul taste, and stinks.

Did you know...

Mandarin dragonets require a specialized diet. These reef-dwellers, with their specific feeding habits, are believed to be hard-to-keep aquarium fish. It is really difficult for them to survive in captivity. They need high-quality food to meet their nutritional requirements.

The pretty ruby red dragonet is another saltwater aquarium fish like the mandarin fish. They prefer reef aquariums and require a diet that includes bloodworms, brine shrimp, glass worms, and other small invertebrates.

Why are dragonet fish so cheap?

In the aquarium industry, they come under the term gobies, which are cheap and easy to feed fish. Dragonets, especially the Mandarin dragonet, are incredibly cheap. They cost between $15 to $20. They are fragile fish, and most of them die before they are sold. They don't do well in captivity. In addition to that, catching and breeding them is cheap, resulting in their overall price being low.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish, including Pacific salmon or Atlantic salmon.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our dragonet coloring pages.

Dragonet Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Crustaceans, worms, mollusks, and small shellfish

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

Around 200 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

6.34 oz (180 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

seabeds in temperate waters

Where Do They Live?

north atlantic

How Long Were They?

7.87-11.81 in (20-30 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Depends on species

What Do They Look Like?

Beige and blue

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

overfishing and pollution

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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