The Little Blue Dragon
One of the most exotic and colorful species of sea slug, the blue dragon (Glaucus atlanticus) is small enough to fit in your hand… but we wouldn’t recommend picking it up. Despite its dainty size, this frilly little demon can deliver an agonizing sting.
(Photo: Taro Taylor/Wikimedia Commons)
But Glaucus doesn’t actually secrete its own venom – it collects it from its most common prey: the stinging jellyfish known as the Portuguese Man o’ War. When the blue dragon chows down on the Man o’ War with its serrated teeth, the venomous sacs (known as nematocysts) are not digested, but stored in the dragon’s tentacle-like appendages, where the venom becomes highly concentrated –making it even more dangerous, or in some cases lethal.
(Photo: Underwater Sydney)
The blue dragon’s venom-collecting habits and alien appearance aren’t its only unusual traits; it’s also known for a strange method of feeding, which it does by floating upside down on the ocean surface. Plus it’s a hermaphrodite, possessing both male and female sex organs… so it probably won’t have too much trouble finding a date.
Text and photos from This Tiny Blue Dragon has Teeth and a Dangerous Sting by Gregory Burkart at FearNet.com.