Scientific Name: Physalia utriculus (Some published sources have synominised this species with P. physalis)
Size: 100 mm (bell width)
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 is it found?
Occurs around Australia.
What are its habitats & habits?
The Indo-Pacific Portugese Man-of-War, or Blue Bottle, is found in marine waters, and is 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.
Can cause severe pain, skin sores, swelling, dizziness, vomiting and respiratory distress, and has been responsible for human fatalities.
Australia is a beautiful and rugged country where you may encounter potentially dangerous wildlife, stinging plants, expansive remote areas and temperatures that can create major health issues. There are several ways you can ensure your safety while visiting Australia’s wild places. Find out more how how to stay safe and enjoy your holiday here.
This species features in my book A Naturalist’s Guide to the Dangerous Creatures of Australia