Blue Dragon’ washes up on Broadbeach: rarely seen sea creature beaches itself
IT looks like something from another world but this “blue dragon” that washed up on Broadbeach this week is actually a sea slug.
The glaucus atlanticus was captured on video by Lucinda Fry on Thursday morning, after it was washed into shore following its favourite food, blue bottles.
The bright blue slugs, or nudibranch, can pack a sting according to Griffith Univers-ity marine invertebrates expert Kylie Pitt.
“I have handled them before and wasn’t stung, but I would not recommend anyone pick them up because they can have a painful sting,” Professor Pitt said.
She said the nudibranch – a soft-bodied marine creature that sheds its shell after larval stage – eats the marine stingers blown on to Gold Coast beaches by easterly winds at this time of year.
“They are really weird,” she said. “The glaucus eat blue bottles – they float upside down and move around using the water’s surface tension.”
The Rivers Institute researcher said the “blue dragons” are not worried by eating the stingers of the blue bottles.
“Instead of digesting the sting cells, they store them on the outside of their body,” she said.
Prof Pitt said they can be found along the east coast of Australia.
The sea slug that washed up on Broadbeach this week.