Portuguese Man O' War
Common Name Man-of-war, or Blue Bottle
Range Almost Global
Estimated Population Large
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Cnidaria
Class Hydrozoa
Order Siphonophora
Family Physaliidae
Genus Physalia
Species • Physalia physalis

The Portuguese Man O' War (physalis physalis) is a cnidarian that floats on the sea surface with a large sail filled with gas. It has stinging tentacles that can reach up to 8 feet underwater, and are considered about the equivalent of a wasp sting. Although the appearance makes it seem to be a jellyfish, it is actually a siphonophore, which is a colony of zooids. In other words, it is an organism made of many smaller organisms that are physically integrated, and would not survive if they were independent.

Biology and Habitat Edit

The Man O' War floats using a "sail," which is really a gas-filled bladder. The rest of the animal is submerged tentacles, which have the capability to deliver a highly painful sting. The whole animal is made of many zooids physically connected, so it is not technically a multi-cellualar organism. The Portuguese Man O' War cannot move on its own, and so currents and winds are responsible for carrying it to the location. Due to this, they have been found in a variety of different locations from open seas to sandy shores. Finding a Man O' War on a beach could mean closure of some beaches, and also means extreme caution should be supervised. The tentacles reach far out, so it is unpredictable to see where they are, except knowing they could be anywhere within 8 feet of the gas bladder! When beached, the creature still has the ability to sting, and so should be watched for as it is an extreme hazard.

Marine Marine HabitatsAquariumsGlobal OceansOcean Weather
Vertebrate FishesMammalsReptilesAmphibiansCartilaginous FishesSharks
Invertebrate ArthropodMolluscaEchinodermsCnidaria
Conservation Status Critically EndangeredEndangeredNear ThreatenedVulnerableLeast ConcernData DeficientNot Evaluated