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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  • tulip_kitty
    tulip_kittySaturday, May 22, 2021 at 8:06 am
    So pretty!
    • alphadog
      alphadogThursday, May 13, 2021 at 1:02 pm
      It is so cool I want to see one in real life👩🏻
      • rockwithrandy
        rockwithrandyWednesday, May 12, 2021 at 8:41 am
        maybe thats another way they made raya and the last dragon
        • dragondreamer1
          dragondreamer1Friday, May 7, 2021 at 7:15 am
          I like dragons. its been my dream to see one, hence the name: DragonDreamer1
          • doglover5
            doglover5Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 12:07 pm
            dragons are not real.but the blue sea dragon is real.but i do belive mermaids are real see the evidance on discovery+ the body found
            • friendlyperson
              friendlypersonSunday, April 18, 2021 at 7:50 pm
              its a sea slug nudibranch not a dragon it just looks like a dragon.
              • nightcolony442
                nightcolony442Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 12:48 pm
                Dragons, Dragons, Dragons, I have always wanted to fly on a dragon
                • o0f
                  o0fTuesday, April 20, 2021 at 6:19 am
                  me too
                • redpandagamer10
                  redpandagamer10Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 9:37 am
                  • kittylover111
                    kittylover111Friday, March 19, 2021 at 7:29 am
                    This is exotic.
                    • june_wolf
                      june_wolfFriday, March 12, 2021 at 6:30 am