6 baby marine animals you can see in South Australia

Brighten your day and get to know six adorable sea creatures that are as cute as their land-based counterparts.

Baby birds, joeys, pups and puggles are adorable – but marine animal babies are cute, too.

Many marine species’ breeding habitats differ based on geography, temperature and age of sexual maturity, but there’s still lots to be discovered about marine animal breeding patterns.

To celebrate SeaWeek, get to know these six super-cute baby marine animals you can spot in South Australia.

1. Leafy sea dragon

In the bizarre leafy sea dragon world, the male carries the eggs on his tail and gives birth to live young. As soon as baby leafy sea dragons are born they look like mini ‘leafies’ and fully fend for themselves.

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(Image courtesy of Carl Charter) 

2. Smooth ray

The mother ray gives birth to live young. Once born, these ravioli look-a-likes are mini versions of their parents, good swimmers and feed themselves straightaway.

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3. Southern calamari

Southern calamari grow in bunches of eggs that the mum attaches to seagrass and algae, where they sit for around two months. Once developed, the baby squid hatch and start a very independent ‘live fast, die young’ lifecycle for about one year.

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4. Port Jackson shark 

Mating is the only time that male and female Port Jackson sharks share ocean space. 

The female lays around a dozen dark brown and spiral-shaped soft cases, then wedges them in a rock crevice, where they can harden in safety. The shark pup takes about 12 months to hatch from the case. It hangs out in the shallow waters until it is big enough to swim deeper.

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(Image courtesy of Jayne Gillespie)

5. Southern rock lobster

Southern rock lobster mums attach eggs to the long hairs under their tails and the babies develop for three to five months before hatching.

When baby lobsters hatch they fend for themselves in the open ocean. They shed their shells every four to six weeks while they grow quickly until about two years old, when they reach maturity. 

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(Image courtesy Of Saspotato)

6. Blue devil fish

Female blue devil fish lay their sticky eggs around rocky reefs. The male fish actually guards the eggs until they hatch a few weeks later.

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Can’t get enough of the ocean? Check out these 6 parks perfect for beach-lovers, learn about 10 things to look for when beachcombing and smarten up your seaside knowledge with 5 mistaken identities along SA’s beaches.

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