Beautiful And Rare “Blue Dragon” Washes Ashore In Australia
by Elise Andrew
Photo credit: Sylke Rohrlach Wikimedia Commons
Looks more like a Pokemon than a real animal, right? But the ‘blue dragon” is quite real. It’s actually named Glaucus atlanticus and is a small
sea slug found in in tropical and temperate waters throughout the world. One recently washed ashore in Queensland, Australia, and the little
critter has gone viral.
As popular as this nudibranch is, no one ever mentions that this sea slug (like other sea slugs) is a total badass. Why, you ask? It eats incredibly
venomous animals like the Portuguese Man o’ War. The sting is agonizingly painful to a human and to most animals, but poses no problem to
Glaucus atlanticus, which is immune. After the sea slug has consumed the Portuguese Man o’ War it “selects” the most venomous cells for its
own use. The slug then incorporates these cells into its own tissues, and uses them as a defense mechanism. It also concentrates the venom,
making it far more venomous than the animal it “stole” the cells from.