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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455 Comments
  • iamrobot
    iamrobot6 days
    Wow!!
    • spyder_11
      spyder_118 days
      it said they are blue to blend into the ocean
      • freerangekid
        freerangekidabout 1 month
        Cool blue I wonder 🤔 why they are 💙 BLUE ?
        • doggyworldonly
          hi people I love this article it is so cool!!
          • badgercat321
            badgercat3212 months
            my friend isnt signed in but he wants to say that he loves this article as well!
            • badgercat321
              badgercat3212 months
              wow so cool! who knew?
              • jehidipufimu
                jehidipufimu3 months
                i love it
                • lh21
                  lh214 months
                  Their beautiful
                  • swaggindragon9
                    new favorite animal, hands down. I love these things!
                    • the_ice_feinix
                      the are cute but they will probobly sting you uther than that it's cute