It has a flat, tapering body and six appendages that branch out into rayed, finger-like cerata. It's quite extraordinary that this powerful creature that is capable of literally tearing a jellyfish to bits grows no more than a little over 1 inch (3 cm). Because Glaucus concentrates the venom, it can produce a more powerful and deadly sting than the Man o' War on which it feeds. The real size of a blue whales heart is about the size of a VW bug. [12][dead link]. G. atlanticus preys on other larger pelagic organisms. Glaucus atlanticus makes use of countershading: the blue side of their body faces upwards, blending in with the blue of the water. How Many People Have Ever Lived On Earth? The bright blue color acts as camouflage against the backdrop of ocean waves while the animal’s grayish backside blends with the bright sea surface, concealing it from predators below. Long, spiral-shaped eggs are produced by both male and female, and often float freely in the water or stick to nearby surfaces. [18], The Glaucus atlanticus is able to swallow the venomous nematocysts from siphonophores such as the Portuguese man o' war, and store them in the extremities of its finger-like cerata. The blue whale circulatory system is quiet amazing. Sailors for the Sea developed the KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards. 2. 36, no. [13][14] They are known to prey on the dangerously venomous Portuguese man o' war (Physalia physalis); the by-the-wind-sailor (Velella velella); the blue button (Porpita porpita); and the violet snail, Janthina janthina. 4. Humans handling the slug may receive a very painful and potentially dangerous sting. They have rows of razor-sharp teeth and an amazingly strong jaw that allows them to rip the flesh of their prey. After consuming a venomous prey, they can use the poison in a time of need, and it becomes even more toxic than it was initially. However, if you ever come across these blue angels (officially known as Glaucus atlanticus), as they are sometimes called, be cautious and move quickly in the opposite direction. The underbelly of the Blue Glaucus is bright blue, which helps it to stay undetected in the water if seen from above. [6], The radula of this species bears serrated teeth.[7]. The stinging cells are stored and concentrated for the future, so 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. 5 Facts To Know About The Future Of Buddhism, Reasons Why Muslims Are The World’s Fastest-growing Religious Group, The Uprising At Sobibor Extermination Camp. And, unlike most benthic nudibranchs, this species lives throughout the entire water column. 3. It has dark blue stripes on its head. And, unlike most benthic nudibranchs, this species lives throughout the entire water column. The eggs are white and are in strings up to 17.5 mm long. Unlike most nudibranchs, which mate with their right sides facing, sea swallows mate with ventral sides facing. [11], Although these sea slugs live on the open ocean, they sometimes accidentally wash up onto the shore, and therefore they may be found on beaches. These smelling receptors send the information to the slugs’ brain, just as our olfactory system does for humans, and then they attempt to travel in the direction the scent is coming from. Glaucus Atlanticus typically lay their eggs on driftwood or on the skeletons of their prey. This is an example of a phenomenon known as countershading, helping the creature to avoid both flying and swimming predators while floating in open water. The slug consumes the entire organism and appears to select and store the most venomous nematocysts for its own use against future prey. A great way to get involved in protecting #oceans: Join Oceana as a Wavemaker & sound off on important issues! American Malacological Bulletin, vol. With the aid of a gas-filled sac in its stomach, G. atlanticus floats at the surface. The blue gaucus, like all nudibranchs, is hermaphroditic — each individual produces both eggs and sperm. The true dorsal surface (carried downwards in G. atlanticus) is completely silver-grey. G. atlanticus is able to feed on the Portuguese man o' war due to its immunity to the venomous nematocysts. The blue glaucus slug isn't your typical run-of-the-mill sea slug. Their prey of choice is a Portuguese man o' war that packs a potent poison in its exceptionally long tentacles. Blood moves steadily through their bodies because of a 3-heart system. Fact Check – Are No Two Snowflakes Exactly Alike? This ability provides the blue glaucus with a defense mechanism against predation. Are Former Soviet Member Countries More Religious Today? The creature often floats on its backside, showing its brightly colored underbelly to airborne predators. [3] The G. atlanticus species geographical range increased northward by 150 km in the Gulf of California. The creature often floats on its backside, showing its brightly colored underbelly to airborne predators. Although they aren't exactly a daily occurrence on the beaches, they do have a preference for warmer oceans, which typically means they are sighted on Australian shores. [4] It is silvery grey on its dorsal side and dark and pale blue ventrally. Unknown (2015). Next time the Blue Glaucus encounters a potential threat, it will deliver a sting that is exceedingly more powerful than that of the Man o'war itself. Like other sea slug species, the blue gaucus isn't venomous by itself. Blue glaucuses can swallow air and hold it in their stomach in order to float on the water’s surface. Studies have indicated that the G. atlanticus is not globally panmictic but is localized within ocean basins. 1, 2018, pp. [8] The blue coloration is also thought to reflect harmful UV sunlight. At maturity Glaucus atlanticus can be up to 3 centimetres (1.2 in) in length. The sea slugs can move toward prey or mates by using their cerata to make slow swimming movements. The upper surface is actually the foot (the underside in other slugs and snail), and this has either a blue or blue-white coloration. The picture above shows the size and shape of a real blue whales heart. The blue glaucus is quite popular as far as sea creatures go. It has a flat, tapering body and six appendages that branch out into rayed, finger-like cerata.. Cerata, also known as papillae, extend laterally from three different pairs of peduncles. They have rows of razor-sharp teeth and an amazingly strong jaw that allows them to rip the flesh of their prey. Considering the natural habitat of these fascinating creatures, it's not surprising that there isn't much knowledge about its conservation status, which is typical for these types of small marine creatures. They have a closed circulatory system, meaning all blood is contained in an extensive network of blood vessels. [17] After mating, both animals produce egg strings. Glaucus atlanticus (common names include the 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.[2]. It has been recorded from the east and south coasts of South Africa, European waters, the east coast of Australia, and Mozambique. Technically, the Glaucus Atlanticus is neither poisonous nor venomous, at least not on its own. Glaucus atlanticus feed on other pelagic creatures, including the Portuguese man o' war and other venomous siphonophores. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 worldatlas.com, Anglerfish: 7 Facts About This Scary Sea Creature. It has dark blue stripes on its head. [15] The nematocysts are collected in specialized sacs (cnidosacs) at the tip of the animal's cerata, the thin feather-like "fingers" on its body. The little sea slug stores the poison inside its body and enhances it for future life or death occurrence. At maturity Glaucus atlanticus can be up to 3 centimetres (1.2 in) in length. 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. They have a gas-filled sac inside their belly which enables them to float on the ocean's surface. The blue glaucus slug isn't your typical run-of-the-mill sea slug. An individual cannot fertilize its own eggs, however, and pairs still must mate. "Occurrence of Glaucus Atlanticus in the Midriff Islands Region, Gulf of California, Mexico". A small child can actually crawl through the veins and arteries. 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. We have already protected nearly 4 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea life - but there is still more to be done. The bright blue color acts as camouflage against the b… Hernández, Luis, et al. Gene flow among Afro-Eurasian and American populations is thus hindered by physical obstructions and water temperatures in the Arctic and Southern Oceans. [10] Glaucus atlanticus was also recently found off Bermuda in January 2016. Click here or below to download hands-on marine science activities for kids. Also known as the blue dragon, sea swallow or blue angel, the blue glaucus is a species of brightly colored sea slug (nudibranch), and can be found throughout the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans in temperate and tropical waters. 1. An air bubble stored in its stomach keeps the nudibranch afloat. They are also so small that it's hard to imagine that they would be able to cause any injury. Nothing is surprising about that considering that they are indeed quite magnificent in their appearance. The Smithsonian Natural History Museum: Beyond The Public View, The Three Rs Of Animal Testing: A More Humane Approach To Animal Experimentation. It is silvery grey on its dorsal side and dark and pale blue ventrally. Due to the location of the gas sac, this species floats upside down.

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