Blue Dragon Viral on TikTok ! User Plays with Dangerous Sea Creature
Social media users responded with amazement and concern
An Australian TikTok user’s potentially lethal encounter with a blue dragon sea slug went viral after his followers alerted him to the danger.
TikTok user @julianobayd shared the video of the toxic slug on Thursday and asked whether or not the creature was a Pokemon.
He did not know it was in fact a blue dragon sea slug, which can be lethal and caused havoc when they washed up on beaches in Sydney in February.
“Dude, you’re done. Literally,” one person wrote in response to the TikTok.
“Bro, that’s a blue dragon they are really venomous [and] they eat blue bottle jelly fish”, another said. “I did an assignment on them.”
In the video, @julianobayd appeared to stroke the dragon sea slug. He wrote in a caption: “It moves like a Pokemon”.
The finding was reportedly on a beach on Stradbroke Island, Queensland, and not far from Brisbane.
Blue dragon sea slugs are alternatively known as Glaucus atlanticus.
Steve Smith, the director of the National Marine Science Centre at Southern Cross University in Australia, said in an interview in 2017 that the creatures were not uncommon – and did not always sting.
“They might go unnoticed a little bit but anyone who gets down onto the beach will regularly see them,” Mr Smith said to Australian Geographic. “I’ve picked them up many times and I haven’t been stung.”
“They’re not like bluebottles. They may have the capacity to sting but it doesn’t mean they’re going to do it every time.”
The blue dragon feeds of bluebottle jelly fish, also known as Portuguese man o’ wars.
what is Glaucus atlanticus?
Glaucus atlanticus (common names include the blue sea dragon, sea swallow, blue angel, blue glaucus, dragon slug, blue dragon, blue sea slug and blue ocean slug) is a species of small, blue sea slug, a pelagic aeolid nudibranch, a shell-less gastropod mollusk in the family Glaucidae.
These sea slugs are pelagic; they float upside down by using the surface tension of the water to stay up, where they are carried along by the winds and ocean currents.
Glaucus atlanticus makes use of countershading: the blue side of their body faces upwards, blending in with the blue of the water. The silver/grey side of the sea slugs faces downwards, blending in with the sunlight reflecting on the ocean’s surface when viewed facing upwards underwater.
Glaucus atlanticus feed on other pelagic creatures, including the Portuguese man o’ war and other venomous siphonophores. This sea slug stores stinging nematocysts from the siphonophores within its own tissues as defence against predators. Humans handling the slug may receive a very painful and potentially dangerous sting.
TikTok User Plays with Dangerous Sea Creature Found on Australian Beach
A TikTok user discovered a glaucus atlanticus — also known as a blue dragon — while visiting Stradbroke Island in Queensland, Australia
A TikTok user happened across a potentially dangerous sea creature while enjoying a day at the beach at Stradbroke Island in Queensland, Australia, The Daily Mail reports.
User @julianobayd posted a clip Tuesday of himself playing with a tiny blue creature in the water with the text, “Anyone know what this is?” written over the video. In the clip, the man has the tiny blue animal on the tip of his finger before he releases it into the water, where he films it floating above the sand.
In a second TikTok about the sea creature, he noted that it “moves like a Pokémon.”
While the creature is stunning, its beautiful looks are more dangerous than sweet. Commenters warned that the blue animal was a type of nudibranch called a glaucus atlanticus, also known as a blue dragon.
“That’s a glaucus atlanticus it’s a weird dragon thing that are commonly found on the beaches of Australia. It is a VERY poisonous animal,” one commenter wrote.
Another added, “this species has an extremely painful sting,” warning @julianobayd, “don’t touch.”
The colorful nudibranch is indeed dangerous — it “incorporates toxic chemicals or stinging cells from its prey into its own skin,” according to Oceana.org, and can often be found floating in the water on its backside.
Oceana explains that “the blue glaucus isn’t venomous by itself.” Instead, the small animals store stinging nematocysts when feeding on venomous Portuguese man o’ wars — their “preferred prey” and keep the stinging cells from the prey’s venomous tentacles to release later if they are in danger.
“When the blue dragon is threatened or touched, it can release these stinging cells to deliver a far more potent sting than the Portuguese man o’ war can alone,” according to Oceana.
Blue dragons are becoming increasingly common in Australia. They have been washing up on the country’s beaches since early this year, according to Vice, which reported in February that the tiny creatures are “turning up in droves” on Sydney’s northern beaches.
Australian Environmental Educators Association marine scientist Sarah-Jo Lobwein told the ABC, “in the past few years we’re having a lot more of those nudibranchs than we have before,” per Vice.
“I think it is the combination of warming or changing seas … possibly leading to a ‘trigger’ in the explosion of the animals at certain times but reliant on that perfect mix of the effect of the Moon on tides, wind direction, water temperature, and the currents,” Lobwein said.
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Facts: The Blue Sea Dragon
Quick facts about this tiny stinging nudibranch! The blue sea dragon