Hunting the Blue Dragon


Velella-covered Beach at Haystack Rock

I'm on the hunt for the legendary blue dragon. This stunningly beautiful predator preys on the by-the-wind sailor, Velella velella, which has been beached in mind-boggling numbers recently. A few weeks ago I saw a photo of the blue dragon; I've been searching through windrows of beach-cast velella ever since. I've also been on the lookout for Janthina, the "purple floating snail," another velella predator.

According to this article, the blue dragon has been found in tropical and temperate oceans all over the word in association with velella. So, it's conceivable that a Glaucus specimen could turn up on the Oregon Coast. But the species is more mobile than velella, so perhaps the blue dragon escapes the fate of being blown ashore like its prey, the by-the-wind sailor. Regardless, I will continue to scour beaches in search of the blue dragon--the holy grail of nudibranch quests.

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