Portuguese man-of-war


Portuguese man–of–war

noun

: a large sea animal that has a very soft body, many long, soft parts (called tentacles) that hang down from its body, and a poisonous sting

plural Portuguese man–of–wars also Portuguese men–of–war

Full Definition of PORTUGUESE MAN-OF-WAR

:  any of a genus (Physalia of the family Physaliidae) of large tropical and subtropical pelagic siphonophores having a crested bladderlike float which bears the colony comprised of three types of zooids on the lower surface with one of the three having nematocyst-equipped tentacles

Illustration of PORTUGUESE MAN-OF-WAR

First Known Use of PORTUGUESE MAN-OF-WAR

1707

Por·tu·guese man–of–war

noun \ˌpr-chə-ˌgēz-ˌman-əv-ˈwr\   (Medical Dictionary)
plural Portuguese man–of–wars \-ˈwrz\ also Portuguese men–of–war \-ˌmen-əv-ˈwr\

Medical Definition of PORTUGUESE MAN–OF–WAR

: any siphonophore of the genus Physalia including large tropical and subtropical oceanic forms having a crested bladderlike float which bears a colony comprised of three types of zooids on the lower surface with one of the three having stinging tentacles

Illustration of PORTUGUESE MAN–OF–WAR

Portuguese man-of-war

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of various floating, warm-water marine cnidarians (genus Physalia, class Hydrozoa) found worldwide but mostly in the Gulf Stream and the Indian and Pacific oceans. The medusa-form body consists of a translucent, jellylike, gas-filled float, which may be 3–12 in. (9–30 cm) long. Polyps beneath the float bear hanging tentacles up to 165 ft (50 m) long. Nematocysts on some polyps paralyze fish and other prey. Other polyps then attach to, spread over, and digest the victim. A third type of polyp is involved in reproduction. The painful sting of Physalia can cause fever, shock, or disruption of heart and lung function.

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