A rare sighting has been reported in the waters around Gulf Shores, Blue Dragons. Kelly Hanobik is vacationing in Gulf Shores with her family from the Cleveland, OH area and spotted these crazy creatures while on a beach walk Tuesday afternoon.
Kelly did a little research and correctly identified them as “Blue Dragon Sea Slugs”. In her email, Kelly says “there were lots washing on shore, some dying in the heat of the sand.”
News 5 reached out the biologists at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab for more information on these fascinating animals.
Brian Jones, Estuarium Curator with the Sea Lab, says the Blue Dragons are common in all warm water oceans, including the Gulf of Mexico. They live at the surface facing upside-down and prey on the Portuguese man-o-war, re-packaging the stinging cells of the prey for their own defense. The strength of their sting may depend on how recently they ingested the stinging cells.
Like the Man-o-war, they are at the mercy of the currents and aren’t rare in the open ocean but in his 25 years on the coast, Jones has seen fewer than 5. He reports this sighting was a treat for him.
We hope it was a treat for you and many thanks to the Hanobik family for sharing their find!