[7], Cerata, also known as papillae, extend laterally from three different pairs of peduncles. It has a tapering body which is flattened, and has six appendages which branch out into rayed, finger-like cerata. Like most small marine invertebrates, little is known about the conservation status of the blue glaucus, especially given the species’ pelagic lifestyle in the open ocean. [20], The Glaucus atlanticus is able to swallow the venomous nematocysts from siphonophores such as the Portuguese man o' war, and store them in the extremities of its finger-like cerata. [16] They are known to prey on the dangerously venomous Portuguese man o' war (Physalia physalis); the by-the-wind-sailor (Velella velella); the blue button (Porpita porpita); and the violet snail, Janthina janthina. Sea Swallow Facts First of all, the short and appealing term of Sea Swallow serves as one of several common names for a truly remarkable form of sea slug. [6] Studies have indicated that the G. atlanticus is not globally panmictic but is localized within ocean basins. 1. [18] Picking up the animal can result in a painful sting, with symptoms similar to those caused by the Portuguese man o' war. [1][3] It shares the common name "Blue Dragon" with Pteraeolidia ianthina. With the aid of a gas-filled sac in its stomach, G. atlanticus floats at the surface. Hernández, Luis, et al. The slug consumes chunks of the organism and appears to select and store the most venomous nematocysts for its own use against future prey. Glaucus atlanticus is a species of sea slam that goes by many names, like blue angel, blue glaucus, blue dragon, blue sea slug, blue ocean slug and, in a strange twist of a name that doesn't reflect its ultramarine dyestuff, the sea gulp. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A blue dragon sea slug is shown at Padre Island National Seashore on May 2, 2020. 145–149. The bright blue color acts as camouflage against the backdrop of ocean waves while the animal’s grayish backside blends with the bright sea surface, concealing it from predators below. Click here or below to download hands-on marine science activities for kids. It only takes a quick look to understand why such a creature would amass so many names: it's absolutely gorgeous! The radula of this species bears serrated teeth. Facts about the Blue Dragon Slug. When feeding on its preferred prey, Portuguese man o' wars, the blue gaucus stores the stinging nematocysts created by the prey’s notoriously long, venomous tentacles — these tentacles may average up to 30 feet long! We are restoring the world’s wild fish populations to serve as a sustainable source of protein for people. The blue dragon’s bizarre appearance is just the beginning. The creature often floats on its backside, showing its brightly colored underbelly to airborne predators. This fabulous variety of marine gastropod also goes by numerous other names, however. It is known for its stinging nematocysts - a defense mechanism that makes it dangerous to not only other aquatic life, but humans as well. [11], Since the middle of the 19th century, records of this species have been reported on the Azores.[5]. Its iridescent countershading coloration helps protect it from both airborne and marine predators. Nudibranchs have a shell in their larval stage, but it disappears in the adult form. Commonly known as the blue dragon or blue sea slug, this beautiful little mollusk can be found off the coast of South Africa, Australia and Mozambique, floating on the surface tension of the water. 5. "Occurrence of Glaucus Atlanticus in the Midriff Islands Region, Gulf of California, Mexico". At maturity Blue Glaucus can be up to 3 cm in length. [12] Glaucus atlanticus was also recently found off Bermuda in January 2016,[13] and uncommonly washes ashore on East coast beaches at Barbados, Lesser Antilles. This makes people want them as pets. The blue dragon is a master of disguise It may seem bright and beguiling once washed up onto a local beach, but when it’s in the water the blue dragon is a master of disguise, using its colours to blend with ocean and sky. They tend to live between a month and a year which is why they are rarely seen. [3] The G. atlanticus species geographical range increased northward by 150 km in the Gulf of California. If the camouflage fails to … Although these sea slugs live on the open ocean, they sometimes accidentally wash up onto the shore, and therefore they may be found on beaches. Though they look like the left-behind offspring of some alien creatures, these bizarre creatures are 100% Earth-bred. Daily Critter Facts The blue sea dragon, aka sea swallow, blue glaucus, blue sea slug, blue angel, and blue ocean slug, is a nudibranch that calls the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans its home. The Glaucus Atlanticus were discovered by … SOME ARE REALLY, REALLY CUTE. The stinging cells are stored and concentrated for the future, so when the blue dragon is threatened or touched, it can release these stinging cells to deliver a far more potent sting than the Portuguese man o' war can alone. G. atlanticus is able to feed on the Portuguese man o' war due to its immunity to the venomous nematocysts. Description . Facts About the Blue Sea Slug (A Picture Book for Kids, Vol 169) [Strattin, Lisa] on Amazon.com. It has a flat, tapering body and six appendages that branch out into rayed, finger-like cerata. They are blue on their backs to help them blend in with the reflective surface of the ocean. The sea slugs can move toward prey or mates by using their cerata to make slow swimming movements. The rare "blue dragon" sea slug was first spotted on beaches in the park several weeks ago. At maturity Glaucus atlanticus can be up to 3 centimetres (1.2 in) in length,[4] though larger specimens have been found. The Blue Dragon Sea Slug has a grey back, which blends in with the ocean bottom as well. That's quite a collection! Despite its impressive appearance, it rarely grows larger than three centimeters long. This is the blue dragon sea slug, also known as Glaucus atlanticus. As stated before, the Blue Glaucus is very popular. Wow! Blue Ocean Slugs live in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans in … The strange blue creature in the photo above may look like a monster from a Japanese RPG, but is actually a real animal—the Glaucus atlanticus sea slug, to be exact.. It may be tiny, but it has 84 fingers, called cerata, filled with concentrated poison. Like other sea slug species, the blue gaucus isn't venomous by itself. Handling the slug could result in a painful, and potentially dangerous, sting. They are carried along by ocean currents while floating upside down by using the surface tension of the water in order to stay up. Due to the location of the gas sac, this species floats upside down. They prefer temperate and tropical waters and pack a punch. Glaucus atlanticus (common names include the sea swallow, blue angel, blue glaucus, dragon slug, blue dragon, blue sea slug and blue ocean slug) is a species of small, blue sea slug, a pelagic aeolid nudibranch, a shell-less gastropod mollusk in the family Glaucidae.[2]. It is camouflaged from above and below. That appellation tincture is for more than it just show. This ability provides the blue glaucus with a defense mechanism against predation. It Packs a Sting. It fertilizes itself and lays its eggs on the remains of its prey. - blue ocean slug Glaucus Atlanticus are marine gastropod mollusks, which means they are soft, 'naked' sea snails but don't use a shell unlike most mollusks. 2. 36, no. Like most nudibranchs, this species incorporates toxic chemicals or stinging cells from its prey into its own skin. The most common places where the Blue Dragon can be found are the East and South Coast of South Africa, European water, the East Coast of Australia, the water of New Zealand, Big Island, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Mozambique, and other places. And I bet you thought dragons didn’t exist. This creature lays eggs in … I picked these blue dragons up from the sand where they were washed up and dying. FACTS. The slugs are silvery grey on their bellies to help them blend in with the surface when observed from below. [18], Like almost all heterobranchs, blue dragons are hermaphrodites and their male reproductive organs have evolved to be especially large and hooked to avoid their partner's venomous cerata. They can be found in the open sea floating upside down by using a gas sac in their stomach to stay up … Amazing to watch! 3. This makes predators think that it’s just another bit of water. The blue Dragon is a hermaphrodite. An individual cannot fertilize its own eggs, however, and pairs still must mate. The stinging cells are stored and concentrated for the future, so when the blue dragon is threatened or touched, it can release these stinging cells to deliver a far more potent sting than the Portuguese man o' war can alone… [15] G. atlanticus preys on other larger pelagic organisms. Occasionally, individuals attack and eat other individuals in captivity. We have already protected nearly 4 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea life - but there is still more to be done. Also called the blue sea slug or the blue dragon, the Glaucus Atlanticusdrifts upside down on the ocean’s surface. 1, 2018, pp. Facts About the Blue Sea Slug (A Picture Book for Kids, Vol 169) Sign up today to get weekly updates and action alerts from Oceana. While most nudibranchs enjoy spending time … The “sea bunny” nudibranch … A group of blue glaucuses floating together is called a “blue fleet.” These “blue fleets” often wash ashore and can sting people swimming in the water. Systematics is the study of the way in which organisms are related to … This nudibranch is pelagic, and there is some evidence that it occurs throughout the world's oceans, in temperate and tropical waters. This coloration is an example of countershading, which helps protect it from predators that might attack from below and from above. Nudibranchs are mollusks in the class Gastropoda, which includes snails, slugs, limpets, and sea hairs.Many gastropods have a shell. This sea slug stores stinging nematocysts from the siphonophores within its own tissues as defence against predators. Glaucus atlanticus (common names include the sea swallow, blue angel, blue glaucus, dragon slug, blue dragon, blue sea slug and blue ocean slug) is a species of small, blue sea slug, a pelagic aeolid nudibranch, a shell-less gastropod mollusk in the family Glaucidae. The papillae are placed in a single row (uniseriate) and may be up to 84 inches total, (Forster, 1777). Also known as the sea swallow, blue angel, blue glaucus, blue dragon, blue sea slug, and blue ocean slug, the Glaucus atlanticus is a small species of "sea slug" (or more correctly and specifically, a nudibranch). The blue gaucus, like all nudibranchs, is hermaphroditic — each individual produces both eggs and sperm. Blue Angel. Blue Glaucus. STAGE 2: The Glaucus Atlanticus becomes a hatchling and gets ready to go to hunt in the open ocean. 4. Sign our petition to tell GrubHub to take shark fin off the menu now – before the ocean’s most iconic predators disappear. Because Glaucus concentrates the venom, it can produce a more powerful and deadly sting than the Man o' War on which it feeds. Crawl_Ray, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0. "First record of the blue sea slug (Glaucus atlanticus) from Andhra Pradesh – India", "A review on the diversity and distribution of opisthobranch gastropods from Peru, with the addition of three new records", "Diver finds 'blue dragons' at Spittal Pond", "First record of the blue sea slug (Glaucus atlanticus) from Andhra Pradesh–India", "Rare blue dragons are washing up on the Padre Island National Seashore", "Aquatic antagonists: Indirect nematocyst envenomation and acute allergic contact dermatitis due to nudibranchs", "On the occurrence and ecology of Glaucus atlanticus Forster, 1777 (Mollusca: Nudibranchia) along the Southwestern Atlantic coast", "Systematics of Pelagic Aeolid Nudibranchs of the Family Glaucidae (Mollusca, Gastropoda)", "Blue Sea slug: Glaucus Atlanticus, Gold Coast, Australia", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Glaucus_atlanticus&oldid=1000442814, Wikipedia pending changes protected pages, Articles with dead external links from January 2018, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 03:41. [8], The radula of this species bears serrated teeth,[9] to which, paired with a strong jaw and denticles allows it to grasp and "chip down" parts of its prey.[6]. It has dark blue stripes on its head. The true dorsal surface (carried downwards in G. atlanticus) is completely silver-grey. The Blue Dragon lives throughout the world’s oceans, mostly in temperate and tropical waters. Humans handling the slug may receive a very painful and potentially dangerous sting. Oceana joined forces with Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation organization dedicated to educating and engaging the world’s boating community. [19] After mating, both individuals are able to lay eggs and can release up to 20 on an egg string, often laying them in wood pieces or carcasses. A rarely-seen kind of sea slug, fancifully called a 'blue dragon', has drawn some attention after washing ashore at a Texas park last week. LIFE CYCLE STAGE 1: The Glaucus Atlanticus will hatch from the egg strings and will be about 1 cm. [6] Unlike most nudibranchs, which mate with their right sides facing, sea swallows mate with ventral sides facing. Glaucus atlanticus isn’t the bottom-feeding sea slug people are used to seeing. Like other sea slug species, the blue gaucus isn't venomous by itself. Published on Feb 7, 2020 Blue sea dragons, who are also known as blue sea slugs and sea angels, are small marine gastropods that float on the surface of the ocean. G. atlanticus is small—the largest specimens can reach about an inch and a half in length—but it packs quite a punch. Called Glaucus atlanticus, this small nudibranch is only about three centimeters long -- but don't let its size fool you. Gastropods also have a foot and all young gastropods undergo a process called torsion in their larval stage. By Angela Heathcote • November 29, 2017 • Reading Time: 3 Minutes • … The upper surface is actually the foot (the underside in other slugs and snail), and this has either a blue or blue-white coloration. Despite its impressive arsenal of defense tactics, the blue glaucus rarely reaches more than 3 centimeters long. Glaucus atlanticus makes use of countershading: the blue side of their body faces upwards, blending in with the blue of the water. These dragons, also known as blue angels and sea swallows, are technically called Glaucus atlanticus and are simply sea slugs that top out at around an inch long. Blue Sea Slug. Its main predators is birds like seagulls and pelicans. But what they lack in size, they make up for in ferocity and beauty. American Malacological Bulletin, vol. 1. It is silvery grey on its dorsal side and dark and pale blue ventrally. And, unlike most benthic nudibranchs, this species lives throughout the entire water column. Blue glaucuses lay eggs on their prey’s carcasses or other floating masses.1. This species looks similar to, and is closely related to, Glaucus marginatus, which is now understood to be not one species, but a cryptic species complex of four separate species that live in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Blue Sea Slug - Little, Blue, Big Sting. Long, spiral-shaped eggs are produced by both male and female, and often float freely in the water or stick to nearby surfaces. Blue glaucus can grow up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long. Its underside, which faces toward the sky, will appear blue from above. This is an example of a phenomenon known as countershading, helping the creature to avoid both flying and swimming predators while floating in open water. This is in line with the known habitat characteristics of the species: they live in warm temperate climates in the Southern Pacific, and in circumtropical and Lusitanian environments. [14][dead link]. A great way to get involved in protecting #oceans: Join Oceana as a Wavemaker & sound off on important issues! When feeding on its preferred prey, Portuguese man o' wars, the blue gaucus stores the stinging nematocysts created by the preys notoriously long, venomous tentacles these tentacles may average up to 30 feet long! Blue dragons (Glaucus atlanticus) are a species of nudibranch sea slug found in most tropical and temperate oceans around the globe. Predators below are thusly uninter… [5] It can live up to a year under the right conditions. Before finding Glaucus atlanticus off Andhra Pradesh, these nudibranchs were documented as having been seen in the Bay of Bengal and off the coast of Tamil Nadu, India, over 677 kilometers apart. It is a sea slug and its scientific name is the Glaucus Atlanticus. They may be small, they may look delicate, but they hide a secret. Blue dragons are part of the nudibranch family, a group of soft-body mollusks more commonly known as sea slugs. STAGE 3: At this stage the Glaucus Atlanticus becomes about 2 to 2.5cm big and is almost full size and also almost ready to mate. Blue Ocean Slug. [6] It is silvery grey on its dorsal side and dark and pale blue ventrally. Finally, the exotic pet trade is the main reason for the decrease in population. This is true with small fishes, Ma n o’ Wars, and Blue Glaucus’. Gene flow among Afro-Eurasian and American populations is thus hindered by physical obstructions and water temperatures in the Arctic and Southern Oceans. Glaucus Atlanticus are up to 3 cm long and weigh between 3-100 grams ; Their heads are blunt with tentacles near the mouth. The blue dragon is a marine glassopod mollusk. Wikipedia/Sylke Rohrlach. These sea slugs are pelagic; they float upside down by using the surface tension of the water to stay up, where they are carried along by the winds and ocean currents. Glaucus atlanticus, more commonly called the “blue dragon,” the “blue angel,” the “sea swallow,” or the “blue sea slug,” is an unusual mollusk devoid of a shell.The brilliant blue and silver markings provide contrasting camouflage for the creature through counter-shading, allowing the Blue Dragon to be camouflaged both above and below. Like most sea slugs, the blue dragon is hermaphroditic, which means that he can produce both eggs and sperm, but requires a mate to fertilise the eggs. Blue glaucuses eat large, venomous prey, such as the Portuguese man o’ war and the blue button jelly, and store their prey’s stinging cells in their bodies to later use against predators. These alternate terms include such names as the blue angel, blue glaucus, blue dragon, blue sea slug, and the blue ocean slug, among others. A blue dragon is a small species of blue sea slug which is a pelagic aeolid nudibranch. [10] The blue coloration is also thought to reflect harmful UV sunlight. The Blue Sea Slug, also known as the Blue Ocean Slug, Blue Glaucus, Sea Swallow, Sea Lizard and Sea Dragon, not to mention Glaucus atlanticus. When seen from below, the upper side appears gray to mimic the sky. The silver/grey side of the sea slugs faces downwards, blending in with the sunlight reflecting on the ocean's surface when viewed facing upwards underwater. It has dark blue stripes on its head. Fjordia (or Flabellina) lineata. It has been recorded from the east and south coasts of South Africa, European waters, the east coast of Australia, and Mozambique. This Blue Dragon Slug ( nudibranch) has many names: Sea Swallow. [21] The symptoms that may appear after being stung are nausea, pain, vomiting, acute allergic contact dermatitis, erythema, urticarial papules, potential vesicle formation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.[22]. http://ow.ly/HoEaH, Cephalopods, Crustaceans, & Other Shellfish, Fishing pressure can surge before marine reserves are created, new study finds, Ted Danson and Katharine McPhee Headline Oceana's SeaChange Summer Party, Oceana Celebrates Belize's Removal from UNESCO's Sites in Danger List, Fishery council safeguards 16,000 square miles off California, More than 362,000 Square Miles of Fragile Seafloor Habitats Protected from Destructive Bottom Trawling off U.S. Pacific Coast. The Sea Swallow’s average size is 1.2 inches or 3 cm long. The blue dragon (Glaucus atlanticus) is a type of mollusk known as a nudibranch. An air bubble stored in its stomach keeps the nudibranch afloat. Blue glaucuses can swallow air and hold it in their stomach in order to float on the water’s surface. Also known as the blue dragon, sea swallow or blue angel, the blue glaucus is a species of brightly colored sea slug (nudibranch), and can be found throughout the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans in temperate and tropical waters. Glaucus atlanticus feed on other pelagic creatures, including the Portuguese man o' war and other venomous siphonophores. The Blue Dragon is well-armed and protected. Glaucus atlanticus was recently found in the Humboldt Current ecosystem in Peru in 2013, and off Andhra Pradesh in India in 2012. This species of sea slug is not defenseless as it floats. [17] The nematocysts are collected in specialized sacs (cnidosacs) at the tip of the animal's cerata, the thin feather-like "fingers" on its body. Sailors for the Sea developed the KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards. Once fertilised, a string of eggs is released and can sometimes contain 36 to 96 eggs in them. The Glaucus atlanticus are sometimes known as Blue Dragon, Sea swallow, Blue Angel, or Blue Glaucus, a shell-less gastropod mollusk from the Glaucidae family.