Rare blue dragon sea slug washes up on Texas beach

Rare blue dragon sea slug washes up on Texas beach
A blue dragon, a rare and painful type of sea slug, washed up along a Texas beach recently. (Hunter Lane/Padre Island National Seashore/Hunter Lane/Padre Island National Seashore)

A blue dragon, a rare sea slug with a painful sting, washed up on a Texas beach recently.

The small, about 1-inch, creature is small but severe. It’s a predator of the Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish, Padre Island National Seashore officials said on social media.

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“If you see a dragon in the park, be amazed as they are a rare find, but also keep your distance,” park officials said.

After a blue dragon consumes a man-of-war jellyfish, the stinging cells from the man-of-war move to the end of the dragon’s “fingers.” The concentration of stinging cells can be much more painful than a man-of-war’s, park officials said.

Although fearsome, they are not common.

“It’s pretty rare,” David Hicks, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley director for the School of Marine Sciences, told KVEO. “We don’t see a lot of them but they are reported from Texas, that community of organisms they kind of go around in masses of water, if you see one you see 1,000 of them.”