300 years later, a mysterious animal appears again

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300 years later, a mysterious animal appears again
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iPhone: Stephen Wichorek

Yes, it does exist: Glaucus atlanticus, the blue dragon, has been frequently spotted in the Torrevieja region. Scientists last documented it 300 years ago on the Mediterranean coast of Spain.

Torrevieja – Blue kites from the sea? For a long time, they were more likely to be in the Kingdom of the Easter Bunny than in the south of the Costa Blanca. But such a curious sea creature did exist: in 1705, scientist Johann Philip Breen of the Royal Society of London documented it on Ibiza. Since then, however, the slimy Glaucus atlanticus has not been seen on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. Yet: Increasingly prominent species roam the beaches in the Torrevieja region. The Blue Dragon appeared here in 2021 and has since been seen many times by swimmers in the coves or on the beach, costanachrichten.com reports.

Costa Blanca: The Blue Dragon – a curious sea creature – has appeared on the beaches

The promenade in the city of Torrevieja on the Mediterranean Costa Blanca.  Posting xINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xLoopxIma
Yes, it does exist: Glaucus atlanticus, the blue dragon, has been frequently spotted in the Torrevieja region. Scientists last documented it 300 years ago on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. © Loop Images / Craig Joiner via www.imago-images.de

A similar article in “Mediterranean Marine Science” and “Quercus” is circulating in the Spanish media these days. The team of biologists Juan Antonio Pujol, Raquel López-Esclapez and Nicholas Obero report “an extraordinary discovery that increases the mystical aura of the existence of a small invertebrate sea creature.” 300 years after British scientist Johann Philipp Brien, the Spaniards were only the second to study blue sea snails or terns – as they are also called in German – on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.

The creature, which appears to have originated from a fictional movie, is a mollusk that is similar in nature to a sea snail. Its three centimeter dimensions are nothing like a dragon. The blue dragon, which has now also appeared on the Costa Blanca, is unique because of its six branched limbs and unique colouring. Deep blue defines the belly area of ​​the curious sea creature, and shimmering silver on its back: the perfect camouflage, scientists explain, is when it’s floating on the surface of the water.

Dangerous prey: leave alone, do not touch

A curious blue sea creature floats through the water.
Costa Blanca blue kites: Glaucus atlanticus feeds on jellyfish-like animals. © University of Murcia

As a rule, blue dragons are not on Easter Bunny Island, but in the tropical and subtropical oceans – and in search of completely harmless prey. Because Glaucus atlanticos loves to eat jellyfish-like sea creatures, including Damn Portuguese cuisine. Curious feature: after a meal, the stinging cells in the fisherman’s tissues act as if it were the predator itself, which is why uninformed observers often mistake the little dragon coming from the sea for a jellyfish.

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Experts rest assured that the blue dragon itself is usually less dangerous to swimmers than it is sometimes assumed. However, the sea creature should be left alone and not touched (although some Instagrammers do just that in popular videos). In the summer of 2021, scientists are brought back to the Dragon thanks to swimmers on the Costa Blanca. Several specimens were lying ashore in Las Estacas Bay and La Mata. A warming sea could mean that fantasy art encounters in and around Torrevieja are becoming more frequent.

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