A bluebottle (Portugese Man of war) jellyfish at Port Elliot beach.
“Portuguese Man o’ War
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This article is about the marine invertebrate. For other uses, see Man O’ War.
Portuguese Man o’ War
Species: P. physalis
The Portuguese Man o’ War (Physalia physalis), also known as the blue bubble, blue bottle, man-of-war, or the Portuguese man of war, is a jelly-like, marine invertebrate of the family Physaliidae.
The common name comes from a Portuguese war ship type of the 15th and 16th century, the man-of-war or caravel (in Portuguese, Caravela), which had triangular sails similar in outline to the bladder of the Portuguese Man o’ War.
While the Portuguese Man o’ War resembles a jellyfish, it is in fact a siphonophore – a colony of four kinds of minute, highly modified individuals, which are specialized polyps and medusoids.1 Each such zooid in these pelagic colonial hydroids or hydrozoans has a high degree of specialization and, although structurally similar to other solitary animals, are all attached to each other and physiologically integrated rather than living independently. Such zooids are specialized to such an extent that they lack the structures associated with other functions and are therefore dependent for survival on the others to do what the particular zooid cannot do by itself.
A similar group of animals are the chondrophores, which are specialised hydroids that float at the surface of the open ocean.
The Portuguese Man o’ War is infamous for having a painful sting, and for swarming in many hundreds.”