|Image via Wikipedia|
First, we should note that this really is a slug. A dramatically beautiful, blue, nudibranch sea slug that can be found floating along in the world's oceans. They are actually upside down, the blue foot facing up and the silvery back facing down. This colouring helps with camouflage from above and below. They are only a few centimetres long and float using surface tension and a sac of gas in its stomach. It's really heartening to see stomach gas put to such good use! I can't help but feel I've been missing a trick...
|Image by tarotastic via Flickr|
To answer this question you have to realise that this gastropod is a top predator in its particular arena. They eat all sorts of other floating oddities such as the Violet Sea Snail, the Blue Button and the By-the-wind Sailor. Special attention, however, is given to the mighty Portuguese Man o' War.
Once detected, the Blue Sea Slug will slowly make its way to prey using its big wing, jazz hand things, which are also called palps or cerata. I prefer jazz hands, though. Small prey can be eaten whole, large prey can be cut apart with the radula - the tough, toothy, tongue that molluscs have.
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Kinda sounds like 'Sea Swallow' is missing something out that 'Sea Dragon' better encapsulates.
Are dragons hermaphrodite? Blue Sea Slugs are. They are also very well endowed since they can't actually stop doing the jazz hands manoeuvre, there's quite a big gap to bridge. Once they've done that they will both be ready to lay a long chain of floating eggs, from which the larvae will hatch.
The larvae actually have shells, like snails! But soon they grow out of their security blankets, get their dance moves on, stretch out those extraordinary limbs of theirs and go about the very important task of packing them full of poison.
It's dapper, it's surrounded in flowing tendrils and it emits pain and poison from it's finger tips. Surely we can add Sea Wizard and Sea Sorcerer to its list of names?