Physalia physalis Linnaeus 1766
bluebottle, portuguese man of war
Physalia physalis, bluebottle, portuguese man of war

family Physaliidae

Avoid contact, these animals deliver a painful burning sting !!
Bluebottles are easily recognised by their brilliant blue colour and large gas filled float. Their floats both keep them on the surface and enable them to travel with the wind. They have very long fishing tentacles which seek out prey, such as plankton and small crustaceans. Contact causes tiny nematocysts to fire and release stinging threads which both trap and poison. If they are found it is usually in large numbers. They are predated upon by Janthina janthina and Glaucilla marginata.

Distribution =   widespread
Max size =   float 30cm, tentacles 10m. Locally float usually 5cms, tentacles 30cms.