New Week Nudibranch! – Blue Dragon

New Week Nudibranch! – Blue Dragon

Glaucus atlanticusimage credit:

image credit:

image credit: the doubtful guest

image credit: | Dan |

Glaucus atlanticusimage credit:
Habitat: around the world in temperate and tropical waters

I’ve decided to start a tradition that every Monday I will post a new species of nudibranch. I absolutely love them, as does our reader Monica! What is a nudibranch you ask? Well, a nudibranch is a marine snail that lost its shell back in its early evolutionary history. There are more than 3,000 known species. They are known for their elaborate patterns and beautifully wild colors.

This particular one I’ve chosen to feature is commonly known as a Blue Dragon nudibranch. It spends its life floating on the surface of the ocean, much like the Violet Sea Snail. They feed on the poisonous Man of War Jellyfish, collecting the animal’s toxins and storing them in little sacs on the end of their feather-like “fingers.” The Blue Dragon can produce a much more powerful and deadly sting than the Man of War due to its ability to store the poison.

So what do you think? Do you like the idea of having a “New Week Nudibranch” posted every Monday?

edit: reader Gabriele has pointed out another common name for this nudibranch – the Sea Swallow!

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  • Tricia

    That is the coolest little blue guy I’ve ever seen! More, please!

  • startlingmoniker

    How are they able to hold these things if they’re so poisonous?

  • CarlyB

    I’m assuming because that one is a baby that it hasn’t absorbed enough Man of War toxins yet to really be painful to a person. However, if you were to touch a big one, you would be sure to get a nasty sting.

  • Omar

    Great idea! I like those bugs specially when they are “swiming”. Spanish dancer is one of my favorites.

    I recently discovered your blog and it was love at first sigh.

  • Monica

    w00t! Yay for nudibranchs! 😀
    Thanks for featuring them, I think they’re amazing.

    I’ve never seen the blue dragon before, it’s fantastic!

    Thank you 😀 (And, of course, I’d LOVE to see more!)

    • Romeo

      I have found one such creature…it would be good if someone wants to adopt this baby!!!! and i want some notes of how to take care of this little sea monster….

  • Auld Rasmie

    That’s a thumbs up from me also. Loved that little guy, and absolutely love your blog. :) :)

  • Anonymous

    What an awesome little being! The inherent intelligence of nature and its beauty never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for sharing.

  • srp

    What an unusual creature…. and yes… more, please!

  • Gabriele

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Gabriele

    Wonderful creature!

    However, these appear to be pictures of Glaucus atlanticus (aka Sea Swallow) rather than a Pteraeolidia ianthina which I think is the species to which “blue dragon nudibranch” usually refers.

  • CarlyB


    You’re right that these are pictures of Glaucus atlanticus and you’re also correct that Pteraeolidia ianthina refers to a blue dragon nudibranch. However, in Australia, the common name “blue dragon” is used to refer to several species which happen to include BOTH the ones you have suggested. I have never heard of the name Sea Swallow but I’d be happy to add it to the list of names!

  • malylion28

    wow ! unbelivable ! i thugt it”s plastic ! that is amazing !

  • Melos

    OMG so i’ve moved to Canada and i’ve not been able to keep post of featured creature as much as i’ve liked but nudibranch mondays sounds awesome! I can’t believe the picture with the nudibrach in the hand!!! firstly – they are so small!!! secondly i thought they couldn’t be taken out of their natural environment!!! either way i still <3 them :-)

  • Anonymous


    • Romeo

      i have one!! would you like to adopt it??

    • Kat

      but if its food is man-o-wars or jellies… what would you feed it?

  • Daryl

    Thanks for sharing Carly,..I never heard of the nudibranch before and now..Im going to tell everyone I know :)

  • Anonymous

    That’s gotta be tgr coolest nudibranch i’ve ever had tgr pleasure of seeing absolutely gorgeous and yes nudibranch Mondays is an outstanding ideas two thumbs way up

  • Anonymous

    So why the HELL are you holding it in the picture……. Dummy

  • Rob


  • Anonymous

    Do you ever visit the Ocean Institute at Dana Point Harbor? I’m a volunteer there. We occasionally have nudibranchs there.

  • CarlyB

    No I haven’t been to the Ocean Institute! I keep meaning to go since that’s where my boyfriend lives, we just haven’t gotten around to it. Let me know when you get some nudis in and I’ll make a special trip!! I just love ’em.


  • Collin

    Yes a weekly nudibranch is a great idea. I had never heard of these things until I stumbled on your blog. The blue dragon one you have here has got to be my favorite so far.

  • Renata Salcedo

    Lovely! Such beatiful colors! You rock evolution!

  • fajas colombianas

    Omg, i want one of those!!

  • photoscience

    So awesome! I love the ocean :)

  • Anonymous

    wow that this is freaking awesome!

    REAL MONEY for looking at an ad for 20 secs . Not a bad deal eh? Even more money for referrals…doesn’t even require a credit card…
    It adds up nicely and is at least worth taking a look.

  • Anonymous

    Black sails at midnight!

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I’m a lover of all species.. But hats off to these powerful little guys. They’re freakin’ adorable. Wish I could have one!

  • Anonymous

    Actually the Blue Dragon nudibranch is a Pteraeolidia ianthina. They are nicknamed that because of their resemblance to Chinese Dragons.
    The nudibranch posted here is Glaucus atlanticus which is also mistaken for Glaucilla marginata as they are closley related.

  • Anonymous

    thank god for all these post of the mis-identification of this species…insanity

  • Anonymous

    SO can we see an adult or is this an adult.Doesn’t appear large enough to eat a man of war.Where can I learn more? thanks and p.s Just because you like an creature that does NOT give you a right to take one from its home and keep for your own selfish pleasure I find alot of people cute but I have never once thought of taking them to OWN as my property Go and see them in THEIR home, enjoy the beauty and think of preserving their environment,you will be preserving yourself as you do.

    • Anonymous

      it may be a captive bred or one that washed up on shore, they do after all float upside down at the surface of the water. I have a Reef aquarium and you can say whatever you want to about it but everything I have is all captive bred, you have take into consideration that they have to be studied in a controlled environment as that is the way most vaccines and cures are found, I am not trying to start an argument as I do agree that things should not be taken from the ocean for our own amusement but this may have simply been someone walking on the shore and found it.

  • Doug

    Awesome site, truley beautifull beautifull and anusual creatures. Thanks for doing this.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah! thanks for doing this. A M A Z I N G

  • Bijoy Varghese


  • Anonymous

    Thats an awesome little dude!! Would love to see more PLEASE keep posting!!

  • Armand

    I love how everyone believes this, this picture has been on the internet for over 2 years. It’s completely fake, its just really good 3d editing, don’t be fooled so easily. Also the reason you won’t see more is because it doesn’t exist, if it was real it would have been on discovery, not some random website.

  • CarlyB

    It’s okay Armand, sometimes nature really is unbelievable but in this case – believe it! If you had done a little research you’d have seen that I wasn’t making this up. Though I’m glad you consider this a “random website” even though you happen to be taking quite some time to visit it and leave a comment. All the best.

    • Anonymous

      I was going to say the same thing lol

  • Anonymous

    My life has jurt been shaken to the core. I hate snails. They terrify me to the core. Some people its spiders or snakes or scorpions or something else horrible begining with s. But for me its snails. Now picture it please as i was quite happily stumbling my way through the internet when i come across this little guy. I think hes quite cute. He looks like a little lizard to me. I dont really understand him so i read the little caption to find he is a FUCKING EVOLVED SNAIL!!!!! ERRRGH GOD. WHAT THE HELL! No. This was like meeting a guy in a bar (or a chick) and finding out hes a chick (or a guy) (im a gal you see but just so you guys get it). So now im stuck in some strange limbo. I like this little guy but my broken phobia ridden mind is simply disgusted with this thought. What do i do people? Next time i see a common all garden snail i will be just as repulsed and just as geared to run as fast as i can despite the fact it can only move around half a mile an hour and the only threat it poses is the odd lug worm. But when this strange erratic fear of mine occurs k will know in the back of my mind that i fell for this chaeasmatic little guy. Im a hypocrite and my world has just been shook to the core. Dear god. What am i meant to think now

    • Anonymous

      I have to agree that you do have a strange phobia lol j/k
      Your fear is legit with some snails from the oceans however, these little guys and a few of its cousins can be very toxic

  • Nicole Sexton

    That is an amazing sea slug. Definitely one of the most beautiful animals I have ever seen. Perfect first choice for an animal of the week.

  • Anonymous


  • sarti-proyect


  • Anonymous


  • animalsoureverything

    I love your site! It’s a much more professional, focused approach to the animal blog I have at
    I hope you’ll stop by some time. Meanwhile, congrats on your UCLA graduation! Keep up the great blogging! Janet

  • Ashley Beolens

    Wow wjat interesting little creatures :)

  • GvSparx ~ Inspiring Life

    Does it breathe out fire? 😀
    It looks too good to believe :)

  • Anonymous

    amazing stuff!

  • Feuerschale

    Nature is so beautiful

  • shaun

    Bah! Avatar!!!

  • Anonymous

    Specifically to Armand:

    My ex husband and I took a walk on the beach one morning after a storm about 20 years ago. We lived in South Florida (Boca Raton, specifically). We noticed little turqouise and midnight blue lumps on the beach. I picked one up (they were quite small – none any larger than one of my fingernails). When I added water to my palm, they spread out like a flower. They were EXACTLY what you see in these photos. I have to believe that you are kidding with your “disbelieving” comment since it is very easy to verify these are actual creatures and not something photo shopped. Do a little homework before you start throwing stones or making silly assumptions.

  • Kelly in Galway

    So excited to find more people who appreciate the lowly nudibranch! This one is especially beautiful. Love the site!

  • spaceman :P

    i want one!!! :DDD

  • Alex

    How big can these little guys get?

  • Pip

    I love nudibrank of the week! Im studying marine bio, and this is legit my favorite organism! YOU GO GLEN COCO!

  • Anonymous

    No one else thinks those look photoshopped?

  • Roy | The Riding Dutchman

    Wow! Really cool!

  • Janet

    We found one at Ka’a’awa Beach on the north shore of O’ahu in Hawaii. Here is a link to the picture

  • Janet

    And I just took the picture yesterday, so I know they are real… All I did was crop it, because it was the size of my thumb nail.

  • Lily

    What amazing little creatures. Nature is truly filled with all sorts of wonders!

  • The Naturette

    Anyone else think those nudibranches look a lot like some of the dragons in How To Train Your Dragon? Lol. Very cool

  • Tess, Ottawa

    I found one of these on the beach at Mazeppa Bay on the South African coast. This was 1988 – photoshop and 3D weren’t around then, so I didn’t have anything to blame these guys on, especially since they were in front of my eyes. Lovely to know what they are. And to Armand and other disbelievers: There are more things in Heaven and Earth than you have dreamt of – and truth really is stranger than fiction. Don’t limit your world to the limits of your own imagination – go out and find what is out there – it’ll blow your mind. CarlyB you are to be congratulated on a lovely site, fun, interesting, intriguing – Thank you for taking the time to put it together. I hope you keep going on the nudubranch Monday thing too – that’s about 3000 Mondays you say? Should last you a while! I look forward to each one!

  • Event Checklist

    Are those Blue Dragon real?

  • suzanne @(*-*)@

    We just found one today swimming around at Bumboras
    Norfolk Island , South Pacific.
    Just an amazingly beautiful creature.

  • Anonymous

    They’re my favourite animal and I’ve never even seen one in real life.
    I randomly stumbled upon your site and am so excited to see all your posts!
    This is awesome!


  • Angela

    OMG that is the coolest animal ever! im gunna change my fave animal status to this, and ask for one in my aquarim!

  • Anonymous

    This is my next tattoo!

  • Anonymous


  • Mr.Loto

    I have never seen such creatures, are so beautiful that seem fake. :-)


  • Anonymous

    I forget the name of it, but has anyone ever has that sushi roll with these things on top? I normally throw them away because I don’t like the taste but they make the food look so pretty! These little things are the best!

  • rvs drinkfles

    Are they real? Seriously? Wow! I want to have one of these creature. They look cute and so blue. Oh I merely love that color. Unbelievable! Wow!

  • Carol

    I live in Australia and have found them on the beach. I’ve always known them as Glaucus. Very beautiful, very real. Certainly not photoshopped. Have you found the Sea Slug Forum? I love the idea of a weekly nudibranch.

  • Dora

    There is a similar specie called Glacus marginata the Mini Blue Bottle Glacus. The “fingers” are shorter.

  • Kyle

    I don’t believe this was ever answered, but many species of “toxic” animals that develop their poison from the food they consume are not poisonous in captivity. Not sure if this is the case here, but i know for a fact that a captive poison dart frog is NOT poisonous, as they gain their poison in the wild from a special mix of particular insects…just thought id throw my two cents in 😀 Love this blog

  • Anonymous

    YES I love that you will have a weekly nudibranch!!! Rock on!

  • Florida Nature Guide

    This is definately a new one for me. I will be sure to share this link with others.

  • chicaboo

    i love these lil creatures!!..look just like a real life pokemon!! :3

  • Kittysafe

    Lil fella reminds me of a mount from World of Warcraft, such a beautiful little creature.

  • Anonymous

    The second and third pictures appear to be photoshopped, but I could be wrong.

  • Mashup Menagerie

    What a wonderful creature!

  • Anonymous

    OK I have seen this question a lot ” why are you hold the Blue Dragon Nudibranch if it is so poisonous?” If you think about what your reading before you ask dumb questions before you ask them you will find the answer. he is holding a tank raised BDN so it hasn’t absorbed any poison from the Man of War. Didn’t you mothers ever teach you to think before you speak?

  • My World

    If you zoom the picture on the hand it is Photoshop.

  • My World

    If you zoom the picture on the hand it is Photoshop.

  • Petra

    Ohmygods I love nudibranchs (well I love all slugs sea or land, but that aside) and this is my favourite nudibranch! Rock on Glaucus atlanticus! Nom those pesky Portuguese Man’o’wars!

  • Petra

    Ohmygods I love nudibranchs (well I love all slugs sea or land, but that aside) and this is my favourite nudibranch! Rock on Glaucus atlanticus! Nom those pesky Portuguese Man’o’wars!

  • Anonymous

    How did I miss this one? This is the first nudibranch I ever saw and was immediately floored by the colors and designs. Only here did I learn that there were so many lovely and beautiful other types with wild, elegant alien forms and rich, gorgeous splendid colors.

    Miss CarlyB sure made a nudibranch fan outta’ me. Ty!


  • Anonymous

    Oh that is so CUTE! I want one, but I dont have a tank for it. (anything that goes in a tank for me always ends up dead) My mom wouldnt let me have one anyway.

  • Kilo Stackz




  • Frankie Blooding

    Your site has my brain EXPLODING with ideas! I needed to find creatures to incorporate into my world (sci-fi/fantasy writer) and this is EXACTLY what I was looking for! OMW!!! I want one of these guys! I have so incorporate them into the book somehow. They’re just too cool!

  • Jeanette

    Stunning! Love your site…very informative and fun. Keep it up.

  • tessa

    Does anyone even realize this isn’t even real?

  • GeeSha

    Is there really a dragon that is living inthis world?? just wondering though.. Anyway, this creature is soooo beautiful! :>

  • Shacayna

    Ohhhhhhh myyyyy gosssshh am in love with this little guy. He is soooo cute

  • fidalgoman

    I’ve always thought that Nudibranchs were stunning in their beauty.

  • Shannon Gamache

    That’s completely amazing, I’ve never seen one or heard of one before!

  • Dbakeca Italia

    WOW!!! It’s amazing how the Nature creates such magical creatures..

  • Lilian R

    wow! amazing creature

  • Cassie

    Nudibranch❤ Thanks SO much for your site! Never had so much fun killing so many hours, while still being kind of productive, haha! Keep it up!!!!