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Portuguese Man o' War (Physalia physalis)


The Portugese Man o' War is also known as a Blue Bubble, Blue Bottle, Man-Of-War. Its scientific name is  Physalia physalis. It is a jelly like marine, who comes from the Physaliidae family.

Species Description

  • The Portuguese Man o' War will try and eat just about anything that comes within range of its tenticles. It normally trrrrys to eat fish, and it does so by muscles in the tentecles dragging the fish in to consume. It will not eat a person, but it will for sure sting you if you are near it becasue it thinks that you might be food. Float, 12 in (30 cm) long, 5 in (12.7 cm) wide; tentacles, up to 165 ft (50 m) long! It is a purplish blue color. The main place that you could find these invertebrates is close to the equator where the water is warmer.




As the colony of jelly's drifts, the man-of-war is constantly ‘fishing’ for food with its tentacles. The food is trapped in the tentacles (dactylozooids) They catch them with what stings people, this is what makes the fish not fight back. The stingers are  packed out with tiny, coiled, stinging barbs that shoot out whenever the cells inside are disturbed  (by something brushing up against them). Potential food items such as small fish, crustaceans and plankton that are paralyzed by these stinging cells. Once the food is paralyzed, the feeding tentacles (gastrozooids) attach and draw the prey up to their mouths.


  • The man o wars do not have a way of propelling themselves in a certain direction. They have gas that floats them to the top, then they have things that are like sails. What is interesting about these "sails" is that they can decide weather to be pointed in one direction or the other. Like being left of right handed. This means that when the wind blows, half of them go in one direction, and the other half dont. This means that half could be swept onto the beach and dried out very quickly. This is the main way that they die, not being hunted. 



  • Over time, there has not been that many changes in the man o wars, there has not been that much adaptation. Their life cycle really varies because they don't control where they go, they are swept by wind or the ocean currents. The man o wars will not know the difference between humans swimming, and food they are trying to catch. If they sense you, then they will wrap around you and sting you. This is very dangerous because in severe cases, it can lead to cardiac arrest, or anaphylactic shock. But for the most part, they will just sting you, and if that happens, you need to try and get the stingers out of you as soon as possible, without using your hands because they could still sting you.  

Works Cited

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Cnidaria
  • Class:Hydrozoa
  • Order: Siphonophora
  • Family: Physalidea
  • Genus: Physalia