Blue sea dragons now reach coasts throughout the Canaries

Photo: La Oliva Ayuntamiento.

Updated 13 October: Oceanográfica, an agency for the public understanding of science, has confirmed that these blue sea dragons have now reached coasts throughout the Canaries. The agency says that the creature is “yet another example of the rich biodiversity of the islands. It’s pelagic, well camouflaged when it floats on the surface of the sea, and no more than 3-4 cm as an adult so is not easy to see in its natural environment. Occasionally, it’s carried by wind and ocean currents along with the jellyfish on which it feeds.” For our immediate purposes, Oceanográfica says that blue sea dragon has “the incredible ability to store the stinging cells of the jellyfish it eats, and so it is very dangerous to potential predators”. It’s also dangerous to potential bathers, so do watch out for this. As the agency says, the creatures “accumulate venom, so don’t touch them or disturb them – that’s always the best way, anyway, to interact with nature”.

Original post 8 October: Blue sea dragons …

After a global financial crisis, Brexit, covid, a climate emergency, and an eruption, I thought it might be aliens but no, it’s blue sea dragons. Well it makes a change!

They are blue and small, but poisonous. Not smurfs, then, but sea slugs properly called Glaucus atlanticus, shell-less molluscs of up to 5cm or so which float on the surface of water and are then carried wherever the waves go. They are considered dangerous because of their poison which is administered through cells that explode on touch. These are not nice to be near, and are even said to devour Portuguese Man of War Jellyfish …

But they are small, and very pretty, and although on this occasion they’ve gone to the La Oliva area of Fuerteventura where they’ve been seen on beaches around Corralejo, they could also come here. So keep an eye out for and everything else well away from them! Anyone who is stung is advised to seek immediate medical assistance.

Aemet’s Dynamic astospherics physicist J. J. González Alemán says that this is the second notice of Blue Dragons in the Canaries this month alone, an animal usually found in much more tropical latitudes. He thinks that its presence here, now, suggests a tropicalization of the Canarian climate, a consequence of climate change: his view is reinforced by the north Atlantic being warmer than normal this year, he says.