They may be small, they may look delicate, but they hide a secret. 1. Because Glaucus concentrates the venom, it can produce a more powerful and deadly sting than the Man o' War on which it feeds. [18] Picking up the animal can result in a painful sting, with symptoms similar to those caused by the Portuguese man o' war. 145–149. Blue glaucus can grow up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long. 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. It has been recorded from the east and south coasts of South Africa, European waters, the east coast of Australia, and Mozambique. And, unlike most benthic nudibranchs, this species lives throughout the entire water column. 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. They are carried along by ocean currents while floating upside down by using the surface tension of the water in order to stay up. At maturity Blue Glaucus can be up to 3 cm in length. The slug consumes chunks of the organism and appears to select and store the most venomous nematocysts for its own use against future prey. This Blue Dragon Slug ( nudibranch) has many names: Sea Swallow. [11], Since the middle of the 19th century, records of this species have been reported on the Azores.[5]. As stated before, the Blue Glaucus is very popular. When seen from below, the upper side appears gray to mimic the sky. 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. Facts About the Blue Sea Slug (A Picture Book for Kids, Vol 169) [Strattin, Lisa] on Amazon.com. [14][dead link]. This sea slug stores stinging nematocysts from the siphonophores within its own tissues as defence against predators. It has dark blue stripes on its head. [1][3] It shares the common name "Blue Dragon" with Pteraeolidia ianthina. Crawl_Ray, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0. STAGE 2: The Glaucus Atlanticus becomes a hatchling and gets ready to go to hunt in the open ocean. Humans handling the slug may receive a very painful and potentially dangerous sting. We are restoring the world’s wild fish populations to serve as a sustainable source of protein for people. Blue glaucuses lay eggs on their prey’s carcasses or other floating masses.1. 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. Glaucus atlanticus feed on other pelagic creatures, including the Portuguese man o' war and other venomous siphonophores. A blue dragon is a small species of blue sea slug which is a pelagic aeolid nudibranch. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Like most nudibranchs, this species incorporates toxic chemicals or stinging cells from its prey into its own skin. The blue dragon’s bizarre appearance is just the beginning. If the camouflage fails to … A blue dragon sea slug is shown at Padre Island National Seashore on May 2, 2020. 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… It has a flat, tapering body and six appendages that branch out into rayed, finger-like cerata. That appellation tincture is for more than it just show. It is known for its stinging nematocysts - a defense mechanism that makes it dangerous to not only other aquatic life, but humans as well. 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. Glaucus atlanticus isn’t the bottom-feeding sea slug people are used to seeing. 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. [6] It is silvery grey on its dorsal side and dark and pale blue ventrally. It only takes a quick look to understand why such a creature would amass so many names: it's absolutely gorgeous! 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. Sailors for the Sea developed the KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards. 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. Amazing to watch! - 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. We have already protected nearly 4 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea life - but there is still more to be done. The sea slugs can move toward prey or mates by using their cerata to make slow swimming movements. 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. Fjordia (or Flabellina) lineata. By Angela Heathcote • November 29, 2017 • Reading Time: 3 Minutes • … It is silvery grey on its dorsal side and dark and pale blue ventrally. Nudibranchs are mollusks in the class Gastropoda, which includes snails, slugs, limpets, and sea hairs.Many gastropods have a shell. This is the blue dragon sea slug, also known as Glaucus atlanticus. G. atlanticus is small—the largest specimens can reach about an inch and a half in length—but it packs quite a punch. The blue Dragon is a hermaphrodite. 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. Gene flow among Afro-Eurasian and American populations is thus hindered by physical obstructions and water temperatures in the Arctic and Southern Oceans. At maturity Glaucus atlanticus can be up to 3 centimetres (1.2 in) in length,[4] though larger specimens have been found. [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. 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. While most nudibranchs enjoy spending time … With the aid of a gas-filled sac in its stomach, G. atlanticus floats at the surface. The blue dragon (Glaucus atlanticus) is a type of mollusk known as a nudibranch. Blue dragons are part of the nudibranch family, a group of soft-body mollusks more commonly known as sea slugs. An air bubble stored in its stomach keeps the nudibranch afloat. Gastropods also have a foot and all young gastropods undergo a process called torsion in their larval stage. Sign up today to get weekly updates and action alerts from Oceana. Blue Ocean Slug. The radula of this species bears serrated teeth. 1. Blue Sea Slug - Little, Blue, Big Sting. "Occurrence of Glaucus Atlanticus in the Midriff Islands Region, Gulf of California, Mexico". [6] Unlike most nudibranchs, which mate with their right sides facing, sea swallows mate with ventral sides facing. The Blue Dragon lives throughout the world’s oceans, mostly in temperate and tropical waters. Like other sea slug species, the blue gaucus isn't venomous by itself. [5] It can live up to a year under the right conditions. This fabulous variety of marine gastropod also goes by numerous other names, however. [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]. They can be found in the open sea floating upside down by using a gas sac in their stomach to stay up … Blue Sea Slug. Though they look like the left-behind offspring of some alien creatures, these bizarre creatures are 100% Earth-bred. Finally, the exotic pet trade is the main reason for the decrease in population. It is a sea slug and its scientific name is the Glaucus Atlanticus. The upper surface is actually the foot (the underside in other slugs and snail), and this has either a blue or blue-white coloration. 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 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.. An individual cannot fertilize its own eggs, however, and pairs still must mate. It Packs a Sting. 3. The “sea bunny” nudibranch … 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. The blue gaucus, like all nudibranchs, is hermaphroditic — each individual produces both eggs and sperm. Called Glaucus atlanticus, this small nudibranch is only about three centimeters long -- but don't let its size fool you. 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. 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. But what they lack in size, they make up for in ferocity and beauty. Oceana joined forces with Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation organization dedicated to educating and engaging the world’s boating community. Despite its impressive appearance, it rarely grows larger than three centimeters long. [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. Long, spiral-shaped eggs are produced by both male and female, and often float freely in the water or stick to nearby surfaces. 1, 2018, pp. FACTS. [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. The papillae are placed in a single row (uniseriate) and may be up to 84 inches total, (Forster, 1777). They are blue on their backs to help them blend in with the reflective surface of the ocean. Systematics is the study of the way in which organisms are related to … 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. 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 Angel. That's quite a collection! Description . Blue Glaucus. 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. Glaucus atlanticus makes use of countershading: the blue side of their body faces upwards, blending in with the blue of the water. This makes predators think that it’s just another bit of water. Handling the slug could result in a painful, and potentially dangerous, sting. A great way to get involved in protecting #oceans: Join Oceana as a Wavemaker & sound off on important issues! Glaucus atlanticus was recently found in the Humboldt Current ecosystem in Peru in 2013, and off Andhra Pradesh in India in 2012. Wow! Glaucus Atlanticus are up to 3 cm long and weigh between 3-100 grams ; Their heads are blunt with tentacles near the mouth. 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. 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. 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. 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