Fleurieu Peninsula and South East marine parks
Giant kelp forest
South Australia’s only giant kelp forest is found in the sea off the Coorong. Giant kelp forests have national protection as endangered ecosystems and shelter a range of other marine life, including reef fish, sea snails, sea urchins, algae and crabs.
Leafy sea dragons
With their beautiful leaf-like appendages, leafy sea dragons are South Australia’s marine emblem. Like all members of the sea horse family, it is the male that carries the eggs until they hatch.
Breeding colonies and haul-out sites for long-nosed fur seals are found around the island. This Australian native is only now beginning to recover after nearly being wiped out by sealing in the 19th century.
Pygmy blue whale
The Lower South East Marine Park represents an important feeding ground for the endangered pygmy blue whale. These solitary whales feed on krill and grow up to 24m long. There may be as few as 1,200 left in the world.
Southern rock lobster
The South East is a centre for the southern rock lobster. They hide in crevices and ledges in limestone reefs, where they can live for more than 20 years. They breed once a year and in South Australia the hatching takes place during spring.
Much the same as plants on land, seagrass has roots and leaves and produces flowers, fruit and seeds. One of only three flowering plants that can live underwater, seagrass holds the sand together and needs clear, shallow water to grow. Many young prawn and fish species hide in seagrass, and when it breaks down it becomes a food source for fish, crabs, worms, birds and many marine animals.