Zoology might look like a boring science existing solely for the obsessive-compulsive researchers who would study every last wrinkle on every living creature, compare their DNA, and classify them in philogenic trees of mind-boggling complexity. Between the species and the genuses, the superfamilies and the parvorders, the cultivars and the clades, one would wonder how would zoology be a form of art — untill they see the specimen behind the names. Ever changing, ever adaptable, persevering in all environments, the life forms found on Earth are often seen as nothing less than works of art.
The creature I’ve shown here, is a pelagic aeolid nudibranch known as Glaucus atlanticus or Blue Sea Dragon, a marine opisthobranch gastropod mollusk in the family Glaucidae. It is the only species in the genus Glaucus, but is closely related to Glaucilla marginata, another member of the family Glaucidae. Its prey of choice are Physalia physalis, the marine siphonophore better known as Portuguese Man o’ War. After eating them, G. atlanticus will select the most venomous nematocysts and use them for defense, storing them in its cnidosacs on the tips of its cerata.
Confused yet? In plain English, this is a colorful two-inch sea slug that eats the dreaded Man’o'wars for breakfast. It, and any of its cousins, the entire suborder Nudibranch, are famous for there striking colors and forms. Check out the books on the right or even at this catalog of these beautiful (and often deadly) species.