The Strange Little Glaucus Atlanticus

The Strange Little Glaucus Atlanticus

Glaucus Atlanticus it is an unusual little blue sea slug. It belongs to Nudibranchia marine gastropod mollusks. Although it looks very inoffensive and cute, this small nudibranch is highly poisonous. For humans, a Glaucus Atlanticus sting can be very painful.

glaucus atlanticus moluskPhoto source: banoosh

Some people says it looks like a pokemon, other thinks its a little strange monster. Glaucus Atlanticus has many other names. The most known is Blue Dragon, Sea Swallow or Blue Sea Slug etc. 

General facts          

Blue Dragon has a silvery grey color on its dorsal side and pale blue ventrally. On its head it has dark blue stripes.

It is a shell-less mollusk. The entire Nudibranchia species has this feature. Its body is soft and flattened. It has six appendages that end in fingers like branches.

Glaucus Atlanticus it can be found all over the world in temperate and tropical waters. It lives in Pacific and Indian Ocean and many locations in the Atlantic. Also it lives in the waters of the Australian coast, South African and European.


Interesting facts

It is very small. At maturity can reach up to 3 cm in length.

It feeds almost exclusively with jellyfish. The most amazing fact is that it can eat the venomous Physalia physalis. This is a colony of polyps known as “Portuguese Man-Of-War”.

Glaucus Atlanticus eat the venom-filled tentacles of Physalia and stores it in the tip of its fingers. This is a way of protection from other marine predators. Depending on the amount of venom stored, the sea slug can have a much deadlier sting than its victim.

The Glaucus Atlanticus has a bubble of air in its stomach. This is how it is transporting: floating upside down in the water. Sometimes the wind throws it to the beaches where is stranded. In this case Glaucus Atlanticus usually rolls into little balls and opens once it gets back into the water.

glaucus atlanticusPhoto source: iphaze

Glaucus Atlanticus is a very interesting creature that has adapted to physically to suit its needs. Have you seen in real this blue sea slug? Are you curious to see it?

glaucus atlanticus hand

blue dragonPhoto source: rinconabstracto

Remi Koene
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