"BOTTLED SLUGS"

 

Blue Sea Slug (Glaucus)

Photograph by Peter Parks

© 2001 by Image Quest 3-D
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Portuguese Man-O-War (Physalia physalis)

Photograph by Peter Parks

© 2001 by Image Quest 3-D
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The Portuguese Man-O-War, Physalia physalis, sometimes called the "Blue Bottle" is capable of hospitalising humans. With tentacles up to 30 metres in length it is longer than a blue whale. Every millimetre of those tentacles packs a most poisonous punch.

Blue Sea Slug (Glaucus atlanticus) eating
Portuguese Man-O-War (Physalia physalis)

Photograph by Peter Parks

© 2001 by Image Quest 3-D
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Yet a small, four centimetre long, blind sea slug, that floats upside down on the surface of the sea, likes nothing more than a good meal of Physalia stinging tentacle. Incredibly, it can swallow the poisonous nematocysts without triggering them. It can then use them in its own defence by passing them into its finger like cerata from where they are ejected from terminal pores to inflict stings upon anyone or anything molesting the sea slug.

Portuguese Man-O-War (Physalia physalis) Discharged Nematocyst

Photograph by Peter Parks

© 2001 by Image Quest 3-D
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This article was written by Peter Parks

© 2001 by Image Quest 3-D
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