"Blue dragon" is arguably one of the coolest names in the animal kingdom – and the creature it belongs to is plenty badass enough to have earned it. Of course, it's not actually a dragon ... but as far as sea slugs go, it's pretty awesome. (Tip: Watch in HD to see this crazy-looking slug in all of its glory.)


Lucinda Fry captured this little fella on video after it washed up on Australia's Gold Coast, most likely while it was on the hunt for food. Blue dragons (Glaucus atlanticus) are a species of nudibranch sea slug found in most tropical and temperate oceans around the globe. While most nudibranchs enjoy spending time lurking on the ocean floor, these guys prefer to hang out upside-down while being carried along by the ocean currents. Because of this, they sometimes wash ashore.

One of the coolest things about them? Their diet. They like to feed on Portuguese man o' war (also known as blue "bottles"), and actually absorb their stinging cells (called nematocysts), which they can store in their own tissue to use against predators – or any humans who pick them up.

“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,” Griffith University marine invertebrates expert Kylie Pitt told Gold Coast Bulletin

The stinging cells are stored in the slugs' cerata, those pointy appendages you see in the video below. Because the nematocysts get concentrated in the cerata, the little slugs have a more powerful sting than their larger prey.

Top header image: Sylke Rohrlach/Flickr