Portuguese man-of-war

Portuguese man-of-war

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Credit: GEORGETTE DOUWMA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Portuguese man-of-war (Physalia utriculus). Also known as a bluebottle, it is not one organism, instead being a colony of hydrozoan animals. Members of the colony have distinct roles. One individual forms the float (partly seen at top left), which is filled with a mixture of nitrogen and carbon monoxide. Individual called gastrozooids are responsible for digesting food and passing it to the rest of the colony. Prey is captured by dactylozooids, which comprises a large stinging tentacle. Reproduction is carried out by gonozooids. The colony is planktonic, being carried around by ocean currents. It inhabits warm waters.

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Keywords: african, animal, animals, coelenterate, colonial, colony, floating, invertebrate, invertebrates, man-o'-war, marine, nature, ocean, pelagic, physalia utriculus, plankton, planktonic, poisonous, portuguese man-of-war, sea, south africa, sting, stinging, surface, toxic, underwater, venomous, vertical, water, wildlife, zoology

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