Meet the Portugese Man o’ War

Man-o-War“I want to be a Portuguese Man O’ War for Halloween” He asked if I meant a sexy Portuguese Man O’ War because that’s what happens to the majority of girl’s costumes. Uh no, of course I wanted it to be as close to anatomically correct as possible. He said he would be one too. Then he said “you know people will just think we’re jellyfish” which meant he knew that although they were cnidarians as well, they were definitely NOT jellyfish. *sigh* The Portuguese man o’ war (Physalia physalis) is a bad ass colonial organism. This doesn’t mean it has taken over an African country and exploited its people and resources (colonial style), but rather it is made up of many polyps coming together to form a super organism. On top there is a floating gas sac known as a pneumatophore and other polyps attach to this. Only one polyp is lucky enough to be the pneumatophore and the others fall into rank in one of the three remaining divisions: feeding, reproduction, or defense. The long tentacles of the defense troop can be up to 50 meters and have venom containing nematocysts. These stinging cells paralyze small prey and the feeding polyps begin the ocean buffet. Continue reading “Meet the Portugese Man o’ War”