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Portuguese man o' war tentacles

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Credit

ANDY DAVIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANDY DAVIES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Close-up of the tentacles of a Portuguese man o' war (Physalia physalis), a jellyfish-like hydrozoan. It is not a single animal, instead being a colony of specialised animals each performing a specific task. The tentacles carry stinging cells (nematocysts) that catch and kill fish and plankton, and are contractile, bringing the prey to be digested. The venomous tentacles can reach up to 30 metres in length. The venom is extremely painful to humans, and can even be lethal. It prefers tropical and subtropical seas, but can be found in temperate waters as well. This specimen was found in Wales, UK.

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Downloadable Master

  • Duration: 00:00:26.44
  • Audio: No
  • Format: Photo JPEG 100% QuickTime movie

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