Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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Last week, pictures of a tiny sea creature that washed up on the shores of Queensland, Australia gave beachgoers quite the surprise. This otherworldly animal looked just like a dragon one might see in a fantasy film.

While there have been lots of fanciful creatures invented through lore and mythology over the years, few real-life beings have been so aptly named - this is the blue dragon, or glaucus atlanticus, as it's officially called.


The blue dragon's bizarre appearance is just the beginning. Its tiny body, which reaches a maximum inch-and-a-half in length, goes after animals like the Portuguese Man o' War, which is not only much larger, but also highly venomous.
The blue dragon isn't deterred at all by Man o' War's nematocysts, or stinging cells - no, the blue dragon simply eats them.


This magnificent creature may have "little man's" syndrome - while it's extremely small, inside, it thinks like a ginormous dragon.
While some of the nematocysts are digested, the blue dragon saves the most venomous cells for later, concentrating the toxin and storing it in its strange, finger-like appendages.

Blue dragons are almost never seen by humans, so the stunning, fierce little mollusk gave those on the beach that day in Queensland quite a rare treat. 

You can learn more about this fascinating sea slug from Epic Wildlife on YouTube below: 

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