Diver finds ‘blue dragons’ at Spittal Pond
Unpleasant weekend weather led to an unusual discovery by a local diver at Spittal Pond — a pool rife with tiny sea slugs known as blue dragons.
Weldon Wade, an avid diver and lionfish culler, said he stopped by Spittal Pond on Saturday because of the poor weather.
“I decided to visit John Smith's Bay to send photographs of conditions to friends,” he said. “On my way to Southampton I was thinking to myself how there would likely be ‘ideal' diving conditions in Spittal Pond and sending a photo of that to the group as a joke would be silly and fun.”
After taking a few pictures, he noticed a series of blue dots in a small tide pool.
“A look revealed, what I've learnt now, they were tiny jellyfish called velella and perhaps some baby Portuguese Man o' War.
“A closer look revealed something I'd only seen online and in books, this tiny blue sea slug called a blue dragon.
“The race was on to take photos, share the find and save as many as I could due to the tide pool receding and the creatures drying and dying.
“Once I realised how unique the find was, I had a few in plastic bottles and friends started to show up to experience and document the find.”
Blue dragons, also known as blue angels or blue ocean slugs, float upside down on the surface of the water feeding on juvenile Portuguese Man o' War and jellyfish.
While beautiful, the animals can also pack a punch. The species stores the stinging elements from its prey and uses it in a concentrated form to defend itself against predators, delivering a more dangerous sting than a Portuguese Man o' War.