TGIF: Portuguese Man-O-War Feeding

Despite being stung by one of them on a Gulf beach as a kid, Portugese Man-O-War’s are still one of my favorite organisms.  Hat tip to @echinoblog for the link to this video of a Portugese Man-O-War capturing a fish. Remember this species is colonial and made of four different polyps or zooids, working in unison and dividing labor.  The bladder is a single polyp called a pneumatophore.  The long tentacles are dactylzooids used for fishing.  The dactylzooids bring the fish up to another set of zooids, gastrozooids, responsible for digestion.  Last, there is set of zooids, gonozooids, in charge of reproduction. The scientific name Physalia physalis references the Greek term for bladder.

Dr. M (1720 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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2 comments on “TGIF: Portuguese Man-O-War Feeding
  1. WHOAH!! Methinks that would best be viewed in 3D whilst snookered. In my undersea game, I have placed a teratomorph, a pseudonatural gargantuan siphonophore, of sorts, for the adventuring party to discover at a later date. One player character is an ephyra, a jellyfish-merman inspired by the mauve stinger and a picture I saw over at elfwood.

  2. Pingback: Exploring the blurry line between colony and individual | A Schooner of Science

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