Rare Sighting of a “Blue Dragon” Spotted on the Shores of Australia

Glaucus Atlanticus Blue Dragon Mollusk Blue Dragon Sea Slug

Photo: Sylke Rohrlach from Sydney (Blue dragon-glaucus atlanticus) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Depending on your tastes, this bizarre little blue creature may inspire aww-worthy shrieks of excitement, a bit of discomforted shock, or possibly a combination of both.

Meet the blue dragon, one of the weirdest and most wonderful little-known animals in the world. The proper name of this mythical-looking creature is Glaucus atlanticus, or blue sea slug, and although it is much smaller than its fictional brethren of lore (only about an inch or two in length) it has a host of nasty tricks up its sleeve—er, wing?

They spend their lives upside down, attached to the surface of the water and floating along at the mercy of the winds and ocean currents. Blue in color, they blend in with the water in order to camouflage themselves within their environment. And though petite, these baby dragons are also dangerous: they predate on venomous cnidarians, such as the Portuguese man o'war. They store the stings cells collected from these cnidarians within their own tissues, and use them as a defense on anything that bothers them. Handling a little blue dragon could result in a painful—and possibly dangerous—sting.

Although rarely spotted by humans, one of these alien-like specimens was caught on film after washing ashore in Queensland, Australia.

Meet the Glaucus atlanticus, better known as the blue dragon sea slug or blue dragon mollusk.

Glaucus Atlanticus Blue Dragon Mollusk Blue Dragon Sea Slug

Photo: Imtorn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This mythical-looking animal is very much real, yet hard to find.

Glaucus Atlanticus Blue Dragon Mollusk Blue Dragon Sea Slug

Photo: Taro Taylor from Sydney, Australia [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Though people rarely encounter these creatures, one beach-goer was fortunate enough to spot the “odd critter” in Queensland, Australia:

h/t: [The Dodo]

This article has been edited and updated.

Related Articles:

Invisible Details of Tiny Creatures Uncovered with Laser-Microscope Photos

Festive Underwater Creatures Look Like Mini Christmas Trees

Captivating Portraits of Luminous Underwater Creatures

Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content