08 January 2013

Pretty - but don't touch

Tentacles of the Portuguese Man O’War (Physalia physalis)

Photo by Simon de Glanville via Invertebrates and Mad as a Marine Biologist.


  1. I recently found out that there's a little sea-slug which eats these guys and concentrates the venom to use for itself!

    Here we go, I found it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glaucus_atlanticus

    The Blue Dragon (Glaucus atlanticus)

    A nudibranch (sea slug) about 3cm long. It has six appendages which branch out into rays with serrated teeth. It is found in the oceas around the east and south coast of Africa, European waters, the east of Australia. The blue dragon is a hermaphorodife, containing both male and female reproductive organs. After mating, both animals produce egg strings.

    The blue drag floats upside down on the surface tension of the ocean and feeds on larger animals such as the violet snail or the deadly venomous Portugese Man o'War. It is immune to the poison and selects and stores the most venomous nematocysts from the Man o'War for its own use. Because it concentrates the poison, the blue dragon can deliver a more powerful and deadly sting than the infamous Man o'War itself.

    I found it amazing that such a tiny little thing could be a predator of the Man O'War!


  2. My son touched a small one when he was about 6 years old and he was in serious pain for about 2 hours.


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