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Rare blue dragons are washing up on Padre Island National Seashore

Rare blue dragons are washing up on Padre Island National Seashore

© Sylke Rohrlach / CC BY-SA 2.0/ Commons.wikimedia.org  Blue dragons are sea slugs that live in the warm waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans

By Meera Dolasia, DOGO News

Since early May, visitors to the Padre Island National Seashore off the coast of South Texas have been discovering specimens of the rare blue dragon, or Glaucus atlanticus. Though the name evokes images of flying, fire breathing monsters, the delicate creatures are a type of sea slug that spend their lives in the temperate and tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

However, while the mollusks, which typically measure just three centimeters long, may not look as fierce as the legendary mythical creatures, they are not to be taken lightly. The sea slugs have the unique ability to store the stingers of their favorite prey — the jellyfish-like Portuguese man o' wars —  and use them for defense when touched or disturbed.  Even worse, blue dragons concentrate the stingers together, making their stings even more painful than those inflicted by the Portuguese man o' wars.

© Taro Taylor/ CC BY  SA 2.0/ Commons.wikimedia.org  Blue dragons, which swim upside down, use their bright blue bellies to confuse airborne predators. Their dull gray backsides blend with the bright sea surface, keeping them hidden from predators in the water

Blue dragons, which spend their lives floating in the ocean waves on their backsides, use their coloring to their advantage. The vibrant blue underbelly provides a perfect camouflage in the water and helps deter airborne predators, while the dull gray backside seamlessly blends in with the ocean's surface,  keeping the sea slugs hidden from potential predators under the sea.

The park officials, who have never encountered the stunning blue dragons in the area before, are unsure why so many are suddenly washing ashore. Their advice to visitors fortunate enough to see them? "Be amazed as they are a rare find, but also keep your distance!"

Read more at DOGO News




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Kids Magazine: Rare blue dragons are washing up on Padre Island National Seashore
Rare blue dragons are washing up on Padre Island National Seashore
Rare blue dragons are washing up on Padre Island National Seashore
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