Physalia physalis

I completely forgot to mention in my last report one of natures wonders I witnessed. At first I thought from a far it was a water bottle floating sideways. It’s amazing when you’re at the wheel of the boat how much more you focus on every single detail before you in the water.  Amazingly, riding the gulf stream  was a Portuguese Man o’ War.

Curiosity got the best of me and I started reading as much as I could. I thought they were “jelly fish” but no..it is not a jellyfish. The Portuguese man-of-war is a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together.

Man-of-wars are found, sometimes in groups of 1,000 or more, floating in warm waters throughout the world’s oceans.

They have no independent means of propulsion and either drift on the currents or catch the wind with their pneumatophores. To avoid threats on the surface, they can deflate their air bags and briefly submerge.

The loggerhead turtle feeds on the Portuguese Man o’ War, a common part of their diet. The skin of the turtle is too thick for the Portuguese Man o’ War sting to penetrate and launch its venom. Some other MOW diners are sea slugs, violet snails, blanket octopus, and ocean sunfish.

Pretty amazing that something that relies upon current and wind can pack such a deadly punch if you make contact with it.

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