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Vet Pathol. 2013 May;50(3):368-76. doi: 10.1177/0300985813482337. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

Pathologic findings in weedy (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) and leafy (Phycodurus eques) seadragons.

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  • 1Dallas Zoo Management, 650 South R. L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas, TX 75203, USA.


A retrospective study of the pathologic findings in weedy (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) and leafy (Phycodurus eques) seadragons was performed on specimens submitted to 2 reference laboratories from 1994 to 2012 to determine the range and occurrence of diseases affecting aquarium-held populations. One hundred two and 94 total diagnoses were recorded in weedy and leafy seadragons, respectively. Two of the more common etiologic diagnoses in both species were mycobacteriosis and scuticociliatosis, whereas myxozoanosis was common in weedy seadragons. Metazoan parasite infections were less common etiologic diagnoses. There were no correlations between mycobacteriosis and ciliate protozoan infections in either species. Myxozoanosis was usually found in combination with other diseases and, except for 1 case, was restricted to weedy seadragons. Phaeohyphomycosis, nonmycobacterial bacterial infections, and trauma were also important but less frequent diagnoses. Intestinal coccidiosis was found in weedy but not leafy seadragons. Mineralization of the swim bladder was detected in 26 of 197 leafy seadragons and only 2 of 257 weedy seadragons. Although weedy and leafy seadragons share certain diseases of significance to exhibit populations, there are diseases unique to each species about which the veterinary pathologist, clinician, or diagnostician should be aware.


Phycodurus eques; Phyllopteryx taeniolatus; Uronema; leafy seadragon; mycobacteriosis; myxozoanosis; pathology; weedy seadragon

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