Portuguese Man-Of-War

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About Portuguese Man-Of-War

Anyone unfamiliar with the biology of the venomous Portuguese man-of-war would likely mistake it for a jellyfish. Not only is it not a jellyfish, it's not even an "it," but a "they." The Portuguese man-of-war is a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together.

The man-of-war comprises four separate polyps. It gets its name from the uppermost polyp, a gas-filled bladder, or pneumatophore, which sits above the water and somewhat resembles an old warship at full sail. Man-of-wars are also known as bluebottles for the purple-blue colour of their pneumatophores.

Fast Facts 

Type: Invertebrate

Diet: Carnivore

Size: Float, 12 in (30 cm) long, 5 in (12.7 cm) wide; tentacles, up to 165 ft (50 m) long

Did you know? The tiny Nomeus gronovii fish is immune to the sting of the Portuguese man-of-war. It lives among the tentacles and even snacks on the stinging tendrils.


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