Bizarre 'dragon' creatures found washed up on beach
Rare sea creatures, sometimes known as blue dragons, have been found washing ashore.
The peculiar animals washed up on the Padre Island National Seashore in Texas and were spotted by a seven-year-old boy, Hunter Lane, who was vacationing with his family from Arizona.
Hunter's father, Trey, told CNN he had been visiting Padre Island for more than 30 years and he had never seen the 'blue dragons' before.
"Hunter loves sea creatures and thought he had found a blue button jellyfish," Mr Lane said.
"After they picked it up in a beach toy he proclaimed to me that he had discovered a new species!"
Sadly for Hunter, the 'blue dragon' or Blue Glaucus, is not a new species.
According to Oceana, the Blue Glaucus is a type of sea slug, or nudibranch, and they grow to be around three centimetres long.
"Blue dragons are very small, generally only 3cm, but don't let their size fool you, they have a defence worthy of the name dragon," Padre Island National Seashore wrote on Facebook after the Lane family shared the photos.
"Here there be dragons!"
While sea slugs may not be the most interesting of creatures in the ocean, the Blue Glaucus do prey on a particularly large jellyfish, like the blue button jelly and Portuguese man o' war.
Oceana explains Blue Glaucus prefer to feast on Portuguese man o' wars, which have long, venomous tentacles, and while feeding the minuscule sea slugs will store the stinging nematocysts created by their prey's tentacles.
"The stinging cells are stored and concentrated for the future, so when the blue dragon is threatened or touched, it can release these stinging cells to deliver a far more potent sting than the Portuguese man o' war can alone," Oceana says.
Due to their painful sting, people are warned to keep their distance.
The colouring of the sea creatures act as a camouflage, as they drift along the water's surface, upside down, with an air bubble in the stomach to keep afloat.
Blue dragons can be found in warmer waters and have been observed in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.
In the comments of the post Padre Island National Seashore shared, some people were shocked and said they had never heard of the strange slugs, while others said they had spotted them in the area in the past.
-This article first appeared on Yahoo