The Blue Dragon

The Blue Dragon

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Glaucus atlanticus (common names include the sea swallow, blue angel, blue glaucus, 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.

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 is camouflaged: the blue side of their body faces upwards, blending in with the blue of the water. The silver/grey side of the sea slugs faces downwards, blending in with the silvery surface of the sea.

Glaucus atlanticus feeds on other pelagic creatures, including the venomoussiphonophore, the Portuguese man o’ war. This sea slug stores stinging nematocysts from the cnidarian within its own tissues as defense against predation. Humans handling the slug may receive a very painful and potentially dangerous sting.

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