The ocean is full of beautiful creatures both big and small. They ride the currents, silently living out their days in a huge blue expanse.
In North Sydney at Freshwater and Curl Curl beaches recently, thousands of tiny “blue angels” have been washing up on the shore.
They look beautiful, but are dangerous and poisonous.
Their scientific name is glaucus atlanticus, and are also known as the blue dragon.
Aptly named, due to the fact that they’re more poisonous than the larger and well-known Portuguese man-o-war. The glaucus atlanticus only grows to about 3 centimeters long.
Australian Museum’s Melissa Murray warned tourists and beach-goers not to touch these tiny dragons with their bare hands.
She reported, “So, the glaucus atlanticus normally has tentacles in its system. If another creature tries to eat it they use the tentacles as a defence mechanism.
“So if you do see one, don’t pick it up with your hands. Use a bucket with water instead.”
Murray explains more about why tourists are seeing these tiny sea creatures: “They usually come in at this time of the year with the north-easterly winds, but die once they hit the shore. They’re absolutely beautiful.”
Tourists were enamored with the beauty of these blue angels.
Miranda Atkinson, visiting Australia from Alaska, said “I would’ve thought they were fake if there weren’t so many.”
The blue dragon has the ability to absorb venom from other organisms when they feed, concentrating it in their long tentacle fingers. Sometimes, they even feed on each other.
To get around, the blue dragon floats upside down on the currents, feeding on various pray. They are also hermaphrodites, and each partner lays a string of eggs for reproductive purposes.
The Portuguese man-o-war is an equally beautiful sea creature that packs a powerful sting when touched.
But instead of being one organism, this creature is actually made up of multiple unique individual organisms that work together for one purpose.
One thing is for sure. While these sea creatures are incredibly spectacular to look at, it’s important to only take photos and not touch!
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