Glaucus atlanticus: The Blue Dragon 1 DSC_5634

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    Blue Dragon / Sea Lizard - NSW, AUSTRALIA. with Porpita porpita on the right.
    Video may be viewed on You Tube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yJi_2h0oEY
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    "Glaucus atlanticus Forster, 1777

    Overview

    This is a bluish-purple nudibranch with a white underside. It resembles most nudibranchs. The elongated, flattened body is up to 3 cm long. The papillae (up to 84 in number) are placed in four or three pairs of clusters (Glaucus atlanticus). It lives in the pleuston of all oceans.

    Taxonomic Description

    The naked body is elongate and flat. The head is small and blunt. It has a pair of small oral tentacles near the mouth and a pair of extremely small rhinophores on the dorsal side. There are four or three pairs of clusters of papillae (cerata) placed on peduncles on the lateral side of the body. The papillae are placed in a single row (uniseriate), their may be 84 in total. The genital pore is on the ventral side at the right; the renal pore is on the right dorsal side between the first and second cluster of papillae; the anus is dorso-laterally at the right between the second and third pair of papillae. The penis is armed with a chitinous spine. The foot is flat and slender, at the ventral side; the metapodium is long. The body is deep bluish-purple ventrally (= upperside in living animals) the dorsal side is silvery white. The radula formula is 0-1-0 (Glaucus atlanticus radula).
    Body length up to 43 mm.

    Juveniles

    A special description is not available.

    Reproduction

    This species is hermaphroditic. The eggs are 60-75 µm wide and 75-97 µm long. Eggs are laid in straight strings up to 17.5 mm long. At 19°C, division of the eggs starts after some hours. After 48-60 hours a trochophore is formed and after three days a veliger with larval shell (first ovoid, is coiled at the day 11 after hatching) leaves the egg string.

    Ecology

    This species is carnivorous and lives in the pleuston where it feeds on Velella, Porpita and Physalia. The nematocysts of Physalia pass unharmed through the digestive system and are used as defence system in the papillae, this is an example of oplophagia (Donati and Porfirio (1986).

    Practical Importance

    As this species can use the stinging nematocysts of its prey animals it can be harmful to humans.

    Distribution

    This species occurs in the tropical waters of all oceans, see the Glaucus atlanticus map." ref: species-identification.org/species.php?species_group=pela...

    We have a little cabin on a cliff by the sea. We listened to the storm all night as the waves crashed on the rocks below us. The next morning many ocean drifters had been washed onto the sand and into rock pools.

    I spent the morning photographing these amazing animals.

    The animal above can eat the stinging cells of other sea creatures and secrete them into special sac at the tip of their cerata. People who picked them up were stung severely. (See below)

    This was a morning I will always remember.

    In January 2011 we found one beautiful specimen of this creature again and released it into the ocean.

    “ A day in such serene enjoyment spent,
    Is worth an age of splendid discontent.”
    Moliere (pseudonym of Jean Baptiste Poquelin), Tartuffe (act IV, sc. 5)

    This nudibranchs feeds almost exclusively on Physalia, it appears that they are able to select the most venomous of Physalia's stinging nematocysts for their own use. Like most aeolids, they store the nematocysts in special sacs (cnidosacs) at the tip of their cerata .

    Glaucus atlanticus is a species of medium-sized, floating, blue sea slug, a pelagic aeolid nudibranch, a marine opisthobranch gastropod mollusk in the family Glaucidae

    1. Johannes D. Mayer 74 months ago | reply

      This wonderful photo was seen in the:

      PHYSIS ***ADMIN INVITE ONLY***-post1/comment2

      If you receive 4+ Awards: Post your Photo Here

      Please tag your photos with “PHYSIS"

    2. NettyA 73 months ago | reply

      What interesting looking creatures!

    3. Paco Rodas 73 months ago | reply

      Bonita foto, صور رائعة, wonderful photo
      Paco Rodas

    4. paco LLorca s. 72 months ago | reply

      me gusta la foto .

    5. PaulE. 72 months ago | reply

      Wonderful

    6. sean pics 72 months ago | reply

      Nominated

      I pick this photograph to be on the cover of National Geographic
      National Geographic: Are You Good Enough?

    7. KAH_Photography [deleted] 72 months ago | reply

      WOW - you are "cRAzY aBoUT naTuRE".
      Congratulations - Great Photo! Seen in:
      cRAzY aBoUT naTuRE
      Collect 5 awards and receive special award,
      and an invitation to our "Awards" group.
      Post photos with 5 or more awards here.

    8. prayerfriends 72 months ago | reply

      WOW - you are "cRAzY aBoUT naTuRE".
      Congratulations - Great Photo! Seen in:
      cRAzY aBoUT naTuRE
      Collect 5 awards and receive special award,
      and an invitation to our "Awards" group.
      Post photos with 5 or more awards here.

    9. ● SandroG 72 months ago | reply

      Cool capture - amazing shot

      WINNER
      Definitely a winner!!!
      You deserve another one.
      Found in www.flickr.com/groups/mywinners/

      Commented with SIC
      I would appreciate your comments

    10. gramulin 72 months ago | reply

      •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••


      You deserve Awards.....♥Wonderful shot!!!♥

      ♠ Pics with 4 ladybugs: Click here
      ♠ Pics with 5 ladybugs: Click here
      ♠ Pics with 6 ladybugs invited to group:Click here

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    11. M@rlon Pérez 72 months ago | reply

      **Beautiful capture seen in**
      The Natural World of Nature!
      The Natural World of Nature
      (POST1 AWARD 4)

    12. 宝马帮 72 months ago | reply

      WOW - you are "cRAzY aBoUT naTuRE".
      Congratulations - Great Photo! Seen in:
      cRAzY aBoUT naTuRE
      Collect 5 awards and receive special award,
      and an invitation to our "Awards" group.
      Post photos with 5 or more awards here.

    13. Karmen Smolnikar 72 months ago | reply

      WOW - you are "cRAzY aBoUT naTuRE".
      Congratulations - Great Photo! Seen in:
      cRAzY aBoUT naTuRE
      Collect 5 awards and receive special award,
      and an invitation to our "Awards" group.
      Post photos with 5 or more awards here.

    14. begumidast 72 months ago | reply

      **Beautiful capture seen in**
      The Natural World of Nature!
      The Natural World of Nature
      (POST1 AWARD 4)

    15. El2deepblue* 72 months ago | reply

      Fascinating - and a great image.
      Thanks for the description and for sharing your
      so interesting nature images.

    16. AlaskaFreezeFrame 72 months ago | reply

      Super shot! I would love to get a chance to photograph them again. They are gorgeous little sea creatures.

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