Rare Blue Dragons Are Washing Up On Padre Island National Seashore


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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  • froyosofi
    froyosofiTuesday, May 26, 2020 at 1:34 pm
    • purpleguylover
      purpleguyloverTuesday, May 26, 2020 at 1:28 pm
      I wish I could have one as a pet that would be cool qwq
      • 2033275
        2033275Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 10:47 am
        • beautiful_day
          beautiful_dayMonday, May 25, 2020 at 7:53 pm
          wow I never heard of blue dragons before! so coooooooooooool
          • tatercandy
            tatercandyFriday, May 22, 2020 at 7:00 pm
            This is the only kind of sea slug that I don't find gross.
            • dons84
              dons84Monday, May 25, 2020 at 2:31 pm
              I know right
              • demontwins
                demontwinsMonday, May 25, 2020 at 12:20 pm
                Sea slugs r UNSTOPPABLE! They r really really Cool! How could u say that!?
              • audrey-1985
                audrey-1985Friday, May 22, 2020 at 6:49 pm
                I really like the color blue or teal i dyed my hair teal
                • fiotastic
                  fiotasticMonday, May 25, 2020 at 9:15 am
                  Me too, audrey-1985
                • audrey-1985
                  audrey-1985Friday, May 22, 2020 at 6:47 pm
                  same i did not think dragons were real :)
                  • dons84
                    dons84Monday, May 25, 2020 at 2:23 pm
                    Dragons are mythical creatures
                  • daretobeyou
                    daretobeyouFriday, May 22, 2020 at 3:16 pm
                    I didn't know dragons were real
                    • redfox1295
                      redfox1295Friday, May 22, 2020 at 1:10 pm
                      When I saw the name I thought it was a real Dragon lol 😂
                      • roobois87
                        roobois87Friday, May 22, 2020 at 12:55 pm
                        This is cool, as well as the Blue Sea Dragons, but also sad how they're washing up on shore like that
                        • audrey-1985
                          audrey-1985Friday, May 22, 2020 at 6:50 pm
                          i know it is so sad :(