Blue dragons

1 min read
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Recently, blue dragons (Glaucus atlanticus) have been spotted on the beach and in waters near the shore in Besant Nagar in Chennai.

About Blue dragons

  • The blue dragon (Glaucus atlanticus) is a type of mollusk known as a nudibranch.
  • They also are known as blue sea slugs, blue angels, and sea swallows. 
  • It rarely grows larger than three centimeters long.
  • An air bubble stored in its stomach keeps the blue dragon afloat.
  • Distribution: It can be found drifting on the surface of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans in temperate and tropical waters.
  • Diet:
    • They feed on venomous siphonophores such as the Portuguese man-o-war and bluebottle, which also occur in ocean surface waters.
    • The dragons appear immune to the nematocysts – stinging cells – of these jellyfish-like creatures.
    • They incorporate these cells into multiple finger-like structures protruding from their body which provides them with a potent form of protection from predators.
  • The slug isn't venomous all on its own, however, it stores the stinging nematocysts created by the creatures on which it feeds.
  • Its sting can cause problems, especially to children and elderly.
  • One sting from this little creature can lead to nausea, pain, vomiting, acute allergic contact dermatitis, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  • They are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. 

Q1) What is Mollusk?

It is any soft-bodied invertebrate of the phylum Mollusca, usually wholly or partly enclosed in a calcium carbonate shell secreted by a soft mantle covering the body. Along with the insects and vertebrates, it is one of the most diverse groups in the animal kingdom, with nearly 100,000 described species. 

Source: Beachgoers, beware! Venomous blue dragons spotted near seashore in Besant Nagar