WIO News: Australian beachgoers are being warned about a water creature that is beautiful to look at but may inflict a painful sting. This month, dozens of blue dragons, also known as glaucus atlanticus, have been washing up on beaches in New South Wales and Queensland, prompting an ocean expert to caution beachgoers about the risks the vividly coloured sea slugs can pose, as reported by 7news.
Most beachgoers do not see the blue dragons until they have washed up on the shore, according to experts who spoke to 7news. However, swimmers may feel their presence in the water because of how painful their stings can be. That’s because the animal stores its prey’s stinging cells, known as cnidocytes, in sacs and feeds on species like the poisonous Portuguese man of war, according to David Hicks, dean of the University of Texas School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences.