The ‘blue dragon’, a type of venomous sea slug, has been found on Karon Beach, according to the Facebook page, Monsoon Garbage. A lecturer from the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University says the find is unusual. Thon Thamrongnawasawat says the blue dragon is usually found in deeper waters, as opposed to coastal areas.
Thon believes it may have been swept closer to shore by the monsoon waves.
According to a Bangkok Post report, the blue dragon sea slug (or Glaucus atlanticus, to give it its scientific name) is a type of mollusk known as a ‘nudibranch’. The blue dragon feeds off other sea creatures, including the Portuguese man o’war, also spotted at Phuket beaches recently. Thon says the blue dragon is more usually found on the surface of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, in temperate and tropical waters.
While the blue dragon rarely grows to more than 4 centimetres, its sting is one you want to avoid, given the accompanying nausea, pain, vomiting, acute contact dermatitis, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
According to the report, if you’re unlucky enough to be stung by a blue dragon, it will feel as if your skin has been pierced with a “needle coated with poison”. Treatment is the same as that advised for jellyfish stings – apply vinegar to the affected area.