Fun Little Dragonfish Facts For Kids

Ritwik Bhuyan
Oct 20, 2022 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Aug 18, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Little dragonfish facts are about this species seen in the deep dark corners of the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

The little dragonfish (Eurypegasus draconis) is known by many different names such as short dragonfish and dragon sea moth. This fish is part of the family Pegasidae of the order Syngnathiformes. This family called Pegasidae consists of two genera, Eurypegasus and Pegasus. The traditional name of the family is taken from a creature from Greek mythology called Pegasus. This marine fish is a bottom dweller and is found in the deepest depth of oceanic water areas and sea. The little dragonfish habitat is found throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific, which includes the Red Sea. This fish has also been spotted in Australia, mainly north-western Western Australia and the Philippines. This is a small fish that sheds its skin in one piece. They can grow up to 3.93 in (10 cm), although species of 7 in (17.7 cm) have been seen too.

This odd-looking fish species is common in the Red Sea but rarely seen. These fishes are marked with a bony armor around the body that is extremely common in other species too. This species has a boring life and are usually seen feeding on small crustaceans and copepods among other things in deep sea areas. The fishes can camouflage themselves easily and this helps them be invisible to the world. The little dragonfish is identified by its flattened body, its long snouts to pick at small prey, and its large-sized wing-esque pectoral fins.

Dragon sea moth fish found in the Red Sea are great additions to any aquarium and mix extremely well with other species of seahorses, pipefishes, and gobies. However, these fishes are sold in millions each year for traditional medicine in Hong Kong and China alone.

For more relatable content, check out these meagre fish facts and rockfish facts.

Little Dragonfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a little dragonfish?

The little dragonfish or dragon sea moth is a species of fish of the family Pegasidae, found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean including the Red Sea.

What class of animal does a little dragonfish belong to?

The little dragonfish (Eurypegasus draconis) falls under the class of Actinopterygii in the kingdom of Animalia.

How many little dragonfish are there in the world?

The population is abundant for these fishes found in the marine habitats of the Red Sea and other parts of the Indo-Pacific ocean including Australia. However, the exact number is not known. They are often found in deep sea areas and are not easily seen, so calculating the number is tricky.  

Where does a little dragonfish live?

Little dragonfish location consists of a range in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Red Sea. These fishes are seen in the marine waters from the Indian Ocean to the Central Pacific. The fishes are also seen in Australia in north-western Western Australia, and also in northern Queensland to central New South Wales of the region. There have been many instances when these dragonfish have been found in the deep-water areas of the sea in the Philippines.  These fishes inhabit the dark deep regions under the water.

Many specimens of this dragon sea moth with large wing-like pectoral fins can be seen in Australian museums.

What is a little dragonfish's habitat?

The little dragonfish range of habitat is limited to the tropical and warm temperate marine waters of the Indo-Pacific Ocean. The region of occurrence of this fish in the order Syngnathiformes also includes the Red Sea, South Africa and north to southern Japan, south to Australia, and Lord Howe Island.

The fishes in the Pegasidae family are seen in dark and deep corners of the underwater. They are observed at a depth of 1524-2133.6 ft (5000-7000 m) under the water. The black dragonfish is seen at a depth of 61-304.8 ft (200-1000 m) in the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean. This deep-sea creature is also seen in estuaries and silty areas.

Who do little dragonfish live with?

Adults of this fish are often seen living in pairs on muddy substrates. They spend their life swimming in deep sea areas.

How long does a little dragonfish live?

The life span of the short dragonfish is not known. The life span of a black dragonfish can go up to 10 years. Life expectancy depends on the quality of feeding and the environment in deep sea areas.

How do they reproduce?

The exact information on the reproduction of the little dragonfish is not known as they live at the bottom of the ocean. Very little information is available for other similar species of dragonfishes too. Female fishes may release the new eggs in the water and the males then fertilize the eggs. The eggs hatch after a specific time. After the eggs hatch, larvae emerge and the parents may leave the babies to fend for themselves. When the new babies are matured, they join the adults in the deep oceans. Eggs are known to go through external fertilization.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the little dragonfish is categorized as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. Although the range size of this species is quite large, the population is not quantified. These deep-sea creatures may be affected by pollution, habitat degradation of the region, and over-hunting but not a lot of information is available.

The population of this species is well-established and is seen throughout its range in the depth of the oceans and along deep sea beds.

Little Dragonfish Fun Facts

What do little dragonfish look like?

Like all members in the genus and also in the family of fishes, the little dragonfish also has a bony armor covering the body. The distinctive shape of the body is also an identification factor. The fish is of small size and is extremely difficult to spot as it can camouflage itself. The fish more or less looks like pieces of shell or rubble lying on the bottom. Males have a broad margin on the pectoral-fin of blue-white coloration. The body coloration is light brown to dark brown and the fish has a paler underside. The fish has an elongated snout and this is shorter in juveniles.

This dragonfish has large wing-like pectoral fins. This explains the name Pegasidae as the Greek horse named Pegasus had wings too. The little dragonfish can be distinguished from members of the genus Pegasus it has a lower number of tail rings, only eight or nine, while other members of Pegasus have 11 or more tail rings.

This fish has a peculiarly shaped body with an elongated snout and big pectoral fins with blue and white margins.

How cute are they?

They are considered cute by many as people often keep these fishes with other species in aquariums. The cool temperament of dragonfishes allows them to adjust well to the tank.

How do they communicate?

Fishes communicate chemically and visually.

How big is a little dragonfish?

The length of the little dragonfish can reach 3.93 in (10 cm). The black dragonfish, a species of the family Stomiidae, is found in the deep waters of the southern subtropical and temperate Indo-Pacific Ocean. The length of this fish species is between 6.5-15 in (16.5-38.1 cm).

How fast can a little dragonfish swim?

The speed is not known.

How much does a little dragonfish weigh?

The weight is not known.

What are the male and female names of the species?

A little dragonfish male and a little dragonfish female are not given different names.

What would you call a baby little dragonfish?

A little dragonfish baby is called a larva.

What do they eat?

The little dragonfish diet consists of amphipods, copepods, isopods, live brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, crustaceans, invertebrates, and small fishes. They are also known to feed on worms from the seafloor.

The black dragonfish is known to feed on small fishes, crustaceans, planktons, algae, shrimp, squid, insect larvae, and many other marine invertebrates.

Are they poisonous?

They are not considered poisonous. Dragonfishes are eaten and are considered to be one of the top marine dishes by humans.

Would they make a good pet?

They are often kept in aquariums, however little dragonfishes are considered a delicacy in certain regions of the world.

Did you know...

Common tankmates of these little dragonfishes include seahorses, pipefishes, gobies, and dragonets.

The pectoral fins of male little dragonfish have a margin of broad blue-white coloration which may be flashed when the fish is disturbed. This new phenomenon is probably restricted to dragonfishes.

Although dragonfishes are predators, there are some species of flounders that prey on the dragonfish. The red flounder fish is a known predator of the black dragonfish.

What adaptations do little dragonfish have?

These fishes can easily camouflage themselves. They can blend in with their environment of coral, sand, gravel, and mud bottoms.

How did the little dragonfish get its name?

The name dragonfish comes from the large head, broad jaw, and usually protruding teeth of this species. Also, the family name Pegasidae was inspired by Pegasus, the famous Greek horse that also had wings.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these giant guitarfish facts and giant frogfish facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable forktail rainbowfish coloring pages.

Little Dragonfish Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Crustaceans, worms, and other small invertebrates

What Type of Animal were they?

Carnivore

Average Litter Size?

N/A

How Much Did They Weigh?

N/A

What habitat Do they Live In?

tropical waters or deep waters of the ocean range

Where Do They Live?

indo-pacific ocean and australia

How Long Were They?

Up to 3.93 in (10 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Actinopterygii

Genus

Eurypegasus

Family

Pegasidae

Scientific Name

Eurypegasus draconis

What Do They Look Like?

Bony shell, long, flattened snout, and wing-like pectoral fins

Skin Type

Wet and slimy body

What Are Their Main Threats?

area degradation in deep sea regions, bycatch of fishing, and trade for medicinal purposes

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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