What Eats the Portuguese Man of War? The Glaucus Atlanticus

by Alexa (age 9, @KNEstemGirls)

By Sylke Rohrlach from Sydney

One of the most interesting and pretty creatures of the sea is the Glaucus Atlanticus, also known as sea swallow, blue angel, blue glaucus, and blue dragon (can you guess what color it is?). It is a species of small, blue sea slug.

It lives in temperate and tropical waters throughout the world’s oceans. Areas where Glaucus Atlanticus can be found include the East and South Coast of South Africa, European waters, the east coast of Australia and Mozambique.

Glaucus Atlanticus is naturally camouflaged. The blue side of their body faces upwards, blending in with the sea below them and the silvery grey side faces downwards, blending in with the surface of the sea.

It can grow up to 3 centimeters (just bigger than a quarter).

Glaucus Atlanticus is pelagic: it floats upside down on the surface tension of the water, where they are carried along by the winds and ocean currents.

Glaucus Atlanticus feeds on other pelagic creatures, including the Portuguese Man of War (The most deadly jellyfish in the world!). Glaucus Atlanticus stores stinging nematocysts from the cnidarian within its own tissues as defense against predation. Humans handling it may receive a very painful and potentially dangerous sting.

If you do see one in the wild, please do not touch it, even if you think it is beautiful! Just enjoy the view 🙂

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