Rare Tiny ‘Blue Dragons’ Look Beautiful But Whatever You Do, Don’t Touch

Lucinda Fry walking along Broadbeach in Queensland, Australia, recently when she “came across this odd critter”. Blue, tiny and looking like a creature from a cartoon, the creatures is a “Glaucus Atlanticus.”

glaucus_atlant-2

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Also known as “the blue dragon,” the animal is, in fact, a sea slug or a shell-less gastropod mollusk. The tiny creatures, which are around 3 cm in length, float upside down on the surface of the sea. Their blue and silver color acts as a camouflage to match the colors of the surface and underside of the water.

However, as small and beautiful as the blue dragon is, it’s deadly! The creature has a powerful venom that helps it feed on other pelagic creatures such as the Portuguese man o’ war. Yes, you read that right. It preys on Man o’ wars and actually has a venom more powerful and deadly than the feared siphonophore.

So if you see a blue dragon, look don’t touch!

glaucus_atlant

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The blue dragon also has a remarkable ability to use its prey’s own venom against it. After the sea slug has consumed the Portuguese man o’ war it “picks” the most venomous nematocysts for its own use. What fascinating creatures!

And here is the original video by taken by Lucinda Fry on the Australian beach.

Came across this odd critter at Broadbeach today. It's a Glaucus Atlanticus.

Posted by Lucinda Fry on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Share the blue dragon with your nature-loving friends!

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