Glaucus Atlanticus – The blue sea slug

I was browsing the internet and I came across a photo of this really strange sea slug!

Had to check it out!

Okay so apparently, the blue sea slug (Glaucus Atlanticus) is a pelagic aeolid nudibranch, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Glaucidae.

That’s a lot of long words, so i’ll add some definitions. The ‘pelagic zone’ refers to bodies of water that are neither near the bottom of, nor the shallow end of the ocean. So the blue sea slug lives in the middle, which is the open sea.

Aeolid is a family classification of sea slugs, and a nudibranch is just a mollusk that had a shell, but then loses it later after the larval stage, hence ‘nudi-‘.

A marine gastropod mollusk is a sea based family of mollusks that usually glide along the floor on their single large foot, usually has soft appendages attached, like eyes and tentacles etc.

So anyway, this guy eats larger pelagic organisms, like the Portuguese Man’O’War, a.k.a. the venomous Blue Bottle! The sea slug can eat blue bottles because it’s immune to the nematocysts that make blue bottles poisonous. The sea slug can then select and store the most venomous nematocysts for later use inside special sacs on the tips of their ‘fingers’, called cerata. This means that the sea slug can potentially hit you harder with venom than a blue bottle!

The Glaucus Atlanticus can be pretty deadly.

That is pretty cool. Also, while reading about the Glaucus Atlanticus, I found out that the blue bottle is not actually a jellyfish. It’s a colony of single celled organisms living together and having their own little ecosystem party. The difference between multi-celled organisms and a colony of single-celled ones, is that multi-celled organisms cant live individually, whereas single celled colonies can survive when they’re split off. How insane is that? The blue bottle is a bunch of organisms working together, rather than one multi-celled organism like the rest of us!

Hope you found this as interesting as I did!



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