A large number of beautiful but deadly “blue dragons” have washed up on a beach in South Africa.
Often described as “the most beautiful killer in the ocean,” the bizarre creatures were discovered by a local grandmother, Maria Wagener, while strolling on a beach near Cape Town.
Mary did not realize that the strange looking beasts she had found were some sort of sea snail, Glaucus atlanticus, who hunts the deadly Portuguese Man’o’War and steals its poison to use on its own sting.
But luckily she didn’t pick up any and said, “I keep picking up starfish and putting them back in the sea, but I felt like they were going to get stung.”
That’s probably for the best. Typical symptoms of the blue dragon sting are – just to name a few – nausea, pain, vomiting, and a severe and very painful rash.
‘I’ve never seen them before and I’ve lived near this beach most of my life,’ she said.
‘They look a bit like a sea scorpion. They are small, about an inch long. They are blue on the top and white on the bottom. It was not difficult to see them on the white sand. ‘
She says she’s seen at least 20 of the mini monsters on the beach, but says there “could have been more.”
The blue dragons weren’t the only creatures washed up by the tide that day – Maria says she saw a variety of other creatures as well, including the poisonous prey of the tiny sea snails: “There were a variety of other types of marine life, too,” she said.
“There were little blue crabs, Portuguese warships, and blue grenades called Janthina Janthina.”
Although Maria did not return the creatures to the ocean herself, she thinks they probably survived: “They were very much alive when I saw them,” she said. “The tide would have brought them back to the sea.”