PORTUGUESE MAN O’ WAR (Physalia physalis)
- The Portuguese man o’ war, also known as the Portuguese man-of-war, man-of-war, or bluebottle, is a venomous jelly-like marine invertebrate of the family Physaliidae.
- The name “man-of-war” is borrowed from the man-of-war, an 16th century English armed sailing ship.
- Despite its outward appearance, the man-of-war is not a true jellyfish but a siphonophore, which differ from jellyfish in that they are not actually a single creature, but a colonial organism made up of many minute individuals called zooids.
- Each zooids is a highly-specialized solitary animal, attached to each other and physiologically integrated to the extent that they are incapable of independent survival.
- The man-of-war is found in warm water seas floating on the surface of open ocean, its air bladder keeping it afloat and acting as a sail while the rest of the organism hangs below the surface.
- It has no means of self-propulsion and is entirely dependent on winds, currents, and tides.
- It is most common in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific and Indian oceans, but can drift outside of this range on warm currents such as the Atlantic Gulf Stream.
- The Portuguese Man o’ War is responsible for up to 10,000 human stings in Australia each summer, particularly on the east coast, with some others occurring off the coast of South Australia and Western Australia.
- The stinging venom-filled nematocysts in the tentacles of the Portuguese Man o’ War can paralyze small fish and other prey.
- Detached tentacles and dead specimens (including those that wash up on shore) can sting just as painfully as the live creature in the water, and may remain potent for hours or even days after the death of the creature or the detachment of the tentacle.
Fact Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_Man_o%27_War
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