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Blue Dragon sea slug – Captivating, super rare and poisonous

Travel, Interesting .

Photo Wikimedia

Some months ago the rare tropical Blue Dragon sea slug, washed up on the beaches of Queensland, Australia.

Now, as I found out, they can also be found further south, along the New South Wales coast as well.

Photo Sylke R. flickr

In one of my recent walks along Towradgi beach in North Wollongong, while waiting for my daughter’s dance classes, I found a tiny little something with a very bright blue colour washed ashore.

I thought to myself, “what is this?” It was beautiful and I was captivated by it… something that I have never seen before. So I took photos keen to learn more about this strange but very beautiful little creature.

I have learned not to touch anything in Australia unless I know what it is because you never know if it is going to be poisonous or dangerous in some way.  So with a little stick I gently moved this wondrous little marine creature to see if it was alive.  It moved so I just took some photos and left it alone.

Photo wikimedia

To my surprise when I researched what it could be and compared my photos, I found that I’d seen a very rare ‘Blue Dragon’… rarely seen by humans.

I feel so lucky and privileged to have seen some.  There always seems to be something new that I find on my walks along the beaches of NSW. I’ve seen dolphins, seal, whales and stingrays… and now a strange little creature I’ve never seen before.

Some people compare it to a creature straight from the Pokemon game.

 

Photo Moon Zenith Lucy Xolalpa

The Blue Dragon is also known as ‘Glaucus atlanticus’. According to Griffith University, marine invertebrates expert, Kylie Pitt, the bright blue slugs can pack a sting. “They are really weird. The glaucus eat blue bottles – they float upside down and move around using the water’s surface tension.” She said in an article in the Gold Coast Bulletin, 14 November 2015.

Photo Moon Zenith Lucy Xolalpa

The Blue Dragon can cause very painful sting, so I’m very happy that I didn’t touch any of the ones I had stumbled across. So as much as they are strange and beautiful, they are not as innocent or harmless as they seem. As well as blue bottles, they feed on jellyfish, including the highly poisonous ‘Portuguese Man-O-War’. They store the swallowed poison inside and then it uses the poison to defend itself against other predators.

Photo Moon Zenith Lucy Xolalpa

So if you happen to bump into a marine creature like this at the beach, don’t touch it!

 

Photo wikimedia

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