Meet the Blue Dragon

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Earlier this month a person in Texas took a video of a curious creature he discovered on the seashore. Not realizing what it was, he took a video and uploaded it to Reddit the place it was instantly recognized as a cute however venomous creature: Glaucus atlanticus.

This creature goes by many widespread names together with sea swallow, blue ocean slug, blue angel and our private favourite, blue dragon. They’re discovered close to the water’s floor and washed up on seashores all over the world. A TikTok user recently found one in Australia the place they’ve turn out to be more and more widespread on seashores probably as a consequence of warming waters and altering circumstances. These Pokémon-like sea slugs are swiftly changing into media darlings, so let’s go behind the paparazzi’s lens and be taught extra about blue dragons.

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How huge does a blue dragon get?

Whereas blue dragons are discovered in lots of locations all over the world, most individuals not often seize glimpses of them as a consequence of their measurement. Dragons conjure up the picture of giant menacing T-rex-sized beasts, however for those who had been an historic knight despatched off to struggle this blue dragon, your sword wouldn’t must be any bigger than a toothpick. These slugs sometimes don’t develop bigger than 3 centimeters, or in regards to the measurement of a grape.

What do blue dragons eat?

All the time one to feast in model, the blue dragon’s favourite meals is a Portuguese Man O’War, one other creature you don’t need to contact whenever you’re out within the ocean. They is perhaps 300 instances larger and venomous, however they’re no match for a blue dragon’s urge for food. Contained in the abdomen of a blue dragon is a tiny air bubble which helps it float by way of the water. This permits them to mainly crawl on the undersurface of the water the place the tentacles of the Man O’Warfare float. It then assaults utilizing jagged tooth like a serrated knife that helps them dismember the Man O’Warfare and in a stunning flip of occasions, steal their venom. As soon as consumed, they retailer the stinging-cells that make a Man O’Warfare such a literal ache within the ideas of their tendril-like extremities. This video dives deeper into how this unimaginable feat is completed:

Are blue dragons harmful to people?

For the reason that blue dragon shops up the stinging-cells from Portuguese Man O’Warfare, their sting could be a number of instances worse than their siphonophore prey. Their venom can stay lively even after they die, so it’s best to take warning to not choose up or step on any you see on the seashore. When you did get stung by one, it will seemingly lead to welts and excruciating ache. So finest to not give it a attempt to go away these little beauties alongside for those who discover them on a shoreline close to you.

Why are they so fairly?

The intense blue coloration helps them camouflage into the splendorous hues of the ocean itself. The blue dragon spends a variety of time floating stomach up, displaying its brightest child blues to anybody on the floor the place it’s extra prone to mix in with the brighter sunny shades above the waves. It’s drabber silver entrance faces down beneath disguising itself higher with the darker tone discovered below the ocean.

Blue Dragon against rock in the oceanBlue Dragon against rock in the ocean
© Peter Woodard/ Wikimedia

How do blue dragons mate?

You suppose on-line relationship is difficult? Strive discovering a mate when your physique is filled with siphonophore venom. Blue dragons are hermaphrodites which implies they’ve each female and male components. They mate with lengthy S-shaped organs that assist them get it on with out touching one another’s stingy bits. This leads to strings of dozens of eggs that they lay gently down on no matter is close to them, generally even on the corpse of their final meal!

Are blue dragons endangered?

These creatures are so small that getting dependable estimates about their inhabitants is difficult. It’s like searching for a splendid blue needle in a huge moist haystack. Due to this fact, it’s laborious to know if the variety of blue dragons is rising or shrinking. What is thought is the vary wherein you see blue dragons is altering. Researchers are discovering them for the primary time in new places like Taiwan or the Padres Island National Seashore in Texas. That is seemingly due to the impacts of local weather change on ocean temperatures, storms, Portuguese Man O’Warfare populations and extra. Blue dragons are proof that no animal is just too small to really feel the consequences of our altering local weather. You can help blue dragons and all the creatures that rely on the ocean by acting on climate before it’s too late.

The submit Meet the Blue Dragon appeared first on Ocean Conservancy.

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