Indo-Pacific Portugese Man-of-War

Indo-Pacific Portugese Man-of-War on a beach

What does it look like? The Indo-Pacific Portugese Man-of-War is generally blue, with an enlarged translucent pneumatophore, which can have a greenish or pinkish tinge, and a long dark blue main tentacle.

Where does it live? Occurs around Australia.

What are its habitats and habits? The Indo-Pacific Portugese Man-of-War, or Blue Bottle, is found in marine waters, and often washed up on beaches. It moves along the surface of the water using its pneumatophore as a sail. Although it appears to be a single organism, this species is actually a colony of different kinds of polyps (zooids), which work together for survival. It captures and immobilises prey, normally larval fish and small crustaceans, using nematocysts on its tentacles.

Other interesting information: These species can cause severe pain, skin sores, swelling, dizziness, vomiting and respiratory distress, and has been responsible for human fatalities.

Scientific name: Physalia utriculus (Some published sources have synominised this species with P. physalis.)

Size: 100 mm (bell width)