Physalia

physalia

(Science: zoology) A genus of large oceanic siphonophora which includes the portuguese man-of-war.

It has a large air sac, or float, with a sail-like crest on its upper side. Numerous zooids of different kinds are attached to the under side of the float. Some of the zooids have very long tentacles; some have a mouth and digest food; others produce gonophores. The American species (Physalia arethusa) is brilliantly coloured, the float being pink or purple, and bright blue; the zooids blue. It is noted for its virulent stinging powers, as well as for its beautiful colours, graceful motions, and its ability to sail to windward.

Origin: NL, fr. Gr. A bladder, fr. A bellows.


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