Rare Blue Dragons Are Washing Up On Padre Island National Seashore

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

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.

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 (Credit: Taro Taylor/ CC BY SA 2.0/ Commons.wikimedia.org)

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!"

Resources: CNN.com, Padre Island National Seashore Facebook,

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400 Comments
  • izzyev
    izzyevFriday, November 27, 2020 at 9:08 am
    That is soo and when I mean "so" I mean sooooo weird.
    • love-art
      love-artTuesday, November 24, 2020 at 4:50 pm
      OMG!
      • dancingdonut11
        dancingdonut11Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 7:34 am
        they are very pretty!
        • dancingdonut11
          dancingdonut11Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 7:34 am
          SO COOL!!!
          • harry2029
            harry2029Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 10:58 pm
            Impossible!!!
            • muworufi-158021143096
              muworufi-158021143096Friday, November 20, 2020 at 9:52 am
              I want one 4 a pet
              • harry2029
                harry2029Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 10:30 pm
                Really????
              • textbookmoss674
                textbookmoss674Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 9:41 am
                i love dragons
                • hiyocool
                  hiyocoolThursday, November 12, 2020 at 10:09 am
                  cool (:
                  • m1k3y
                    m1k3yThursday, November 12, 2020 at 9:40 am
                    Scary yet cool
                    • wolfieland
                      wolfielandTuesday, November 10, 2020 at 1:12 pm
                      they so pretty :O