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.
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.
Glaucus atlanticus got quite a bit of attention on the internet in April after a stunning up-close photo was posted to imigur (above). While we only just stumbled upon the blue dragon today, the moment we saw it we had the feeling this wasn’t the first time we had seen a sea slug that looked like something out of a fantasy world.
That’s right! I choose you, thecacera pacifica!
Long time readers may remember the “Pikachu sea slug” from an article we did earlier this year.
Yet whereas the thecacera pacifica is content with hanging out on the ocean floor and munching on bryoza, the blue dragon is an aggressive predator that feeds on organisms much larger than itself, including the venomous Portuguese man o’ war.
Not only that, the glaucus atlanticus actually absorbs the man o’ wars venom (it must be poison-type) and stores it in the tips of the finger-like appendages on either side of its body to use when preying on other fish. And since the venom is concentrated, it can actually be more lethal than the man o’ war it took it from. It’s Super Effective!
Pokemon jokes aside, the glaucus atlanticus can give you quite the sting (poison sting, that is!), so you may want to think twice before picking one up barehanded.
Check below for more images and video of glaucus atlanticus and thecacera pacifica!
■ Glaucus atlanticus
■ Thecacera pacifica
▼ Laying eggs at the Daycare Center