Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Look What Washed Up: Man-of-War

Hey, look what washed up on the beach near my house.  It's jellyfish !!!!  A man-of-war!!! All the way from Portugal)))) A Portuguese Man of War or Physalia physalis.  Well, guess they are nor really from there, but they are still cool.  These guys were all over the beach here in Hollywood, Florida.

Most of them looked like blue balloons. But this man-of-war still get his tentacles attached. Blue tentacles))) They are covered in venom-filled nematocysts which they use to kill small fish and crustaceans. Supposedly, they are also toxic to people, but I did not feel like testing that. I simply poked it with a stick. Surprisingly, these pneumatophore are very tough to puncture.

Another dead jellyfish.  Well, I guess, it's not really a jellyfish. It is a jellyfish-like cnidarian.  And not just one cnidarian, it's a colony of different polyps.  As a kid, I've always thought of them as a single animal.  But it turned out that it is a bunch of small animals forming this weird creature.

The Portuguese man of war colony is made up of three different types of medusoids (it's a funny word) and four types of polypoids, .  The medusoids are gonophores, siphosomal nectophores, and vestigial siphosomal nectophores).  Polypoids  are free gastrozooids, gastrozooids with tentacles, gonozooids, and gonopalpons (grouped into cormidia beneath the pneumatophore). Yes, that's a lot of different animals living under one sail)))

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