According to recent reports, a tiny blue dragon makes stunning appearance on Australian shore, which is highly unusual of the rare marine creature. The blue dragon also known as Glaucus atlanticus is a very rare sea slug that blessed us with few sights.
A video of the tiny animal that was washed ashore on the Aussie coast went viral on the Internet a few days ago. The slug’s amazing blue paint-job made everyone discuss the rare appearance.
The video was made by Lucinda Fry, who posted it on Facebook, after recently stumbling across the blue slug at Broadbeach in Queensland.
But when it comes to the blue dragon it is not all about the looks. The animal also has a very painful and poisonous sting when it senses danger.
Biologists explained that despite its small size – about 1.2 inches in length – the tropical critter’ poison may be dangerous to humans, as well. So it is highly recommended to let experts handle it and avoid touching it at all.
The amazing colors of the blue dragon are not just for the show. They also help the little creature survive. On one side, the critter is painted in blue to make it invisible to predators lurking at the surface of the sea, while the other side is painted in silver to camouflage it from predators looking for it from underwater.
According to biologists, the tropical creature floats upside down on the sea surface thanks to the gas in its stomach. Its favorite prey is other invertebrates that are also dangerous because of their poison such as the Portuguese-man-o-war and the by-the-wind sailor.
But the blue sea slug not only feeds on these dangerous animals, it also consumes their stinging cells also known as nematocysts and uses them to produce its own poison and defense mechanism. Researchers found that the tiny critter is virtually immune to the stinging cells of its prey.
G. atlanticus is a voracious predator that can sometimes attack large colonies of invertebrates and tear big pieces of its prey through its powerful jaws. The jaws are equipped with rows of sharp denticles, which the animal uses to take a firm grasp of its slippery prey. When food is scarce it may also resort to cannibalism to survive.
First description of the Glaucus atlanticus dates back to 1777 when researchers couldn’t tell what type of animal the bizarre shell-less mollusk was. It was later qualified as a gastropod. Its name comes from the Greek god of the sea who was forced by other gods to spent his life in the open sea just like the tiny slug does.
Image Source: Wikipedia