Blue dragon find for Butler College teacher

The blue dragon with a 20 cent piece in the background. Picture: Sam Montague

BUTLER College marine studies teacher Sam Montague has found a blue dragon which he has given to the WA Museum.

Mr Montague went to the beach on Wednesday night after the storm to collect seagrass.

His Year 7 to Year 12 students are studying ecosystems in particular seagrass meadows and currently taxonomy of seagrass, which is why he was collecting things off the beach.

When he saw the blue dragon (Glaucus atlanticus) he carefully scooped it up off the sand as they are venomous and can give a nasty sting.

He took the blue dragon, which is about 5cm by 5cm, home with the seagrass and put it in fresh saltwater from his aquarium.

For him it is an exciting find as the blue dragon’s natural habitat is hundreds of kilometres away in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Essentially plantonic blue dragons cannot fight big storm currents.

It is uncommon to find a living one and they are often mistaken as a leftover part of a blue bottle.

But they actually eat blue bottles and then the stinging cells from the bluebottles are concentrated in the blue dragon’s own finger-like appendages.

On Saturday the Year 7-12 teacher took the blue dragon to show WA Museum invertebrate molecular biologist Dr Nerido Wilson.

Mr Montague said he wasn’t sure if the blue dragon was of high enough quality to be put on display at the museum.

But he thought it likely it would be preserved and used as a reference sample.