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Wild Things: Portuguese Man-of-War

The Portuguese Man-of-War is a jelly-like marine animal but it's no jellyfish. In fact, these sea creatures are four different polyps that rely on each other to survive. Man-of-Wars are well known for their painful and powerful sting. They can be found in warm water all over the world.

This stinging animal is called the Man-of-War because it looks a bit like a Portuguese battleship with a sail. It's not built like a battle ship. The body is a gas filled float which can be blue to pink in color (it looks like a bag.) It can be anywhere from three to 12 inches (nine to 30 centimeters.) Underneath the float are clusters of polyps which coiled tentacles hang off of. The stinging tentacles can be up to 165 feet (about 50 meters) long. Sometimes the gas bag will flop over in the water but its muscles pull itself back up. The crest above the float is only a few inches tall and acts like a sail. It relies on the wind to move it from one place to another.

Since it has no control over where it goes Man-of-Wars are often found washed ashore, especially during winter and when the wind is bad. The bag that keeps it afloat must be kept wet. If the bag dries then the Man-of-War dies. To keep it from drying out the animal dips its sail in the water once every so often. When it's in the water, the Man-of-War uses the tentacles to capture small fish, plankton and crayfish. The tentacles paralyze prey. By contracting its muscles, the Man-of-War's tentacles can move fairly quickly.

The stings of the Man-of-War aren't just painful to their prey. It can cause some serious pain and effects to people too. This includes fever, shock as well as heart and lung problems. If you're stung by a Man-of-War pick off any visible tentacles, then rinse with fresh or salt water. Put ice on the area. Because you might go into shock it is important to get medical help as soon as possible. The toxins from tentacles are about 75 percent as powerful as cobra venom. Ouch! Even dead Man-of-Wars stranded on the beach can still sting so don't touch them and keep out of the water if they are present.

This is Interesting

  • Sometimes you can see Man-of-Wars floating along in groups of up to 1000 or more.
  • When the weather gets bad these guys know what to do. They can deflate their floats so that the weather will not harm it. After all, they are delicate.
  • The float, or bag, is filled with the rare gas Argon - no one knows why.

Have you had a run-in with a Man-of-War? Do you know anyone who has? Tell us about it.

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Grossest Insect? Vote!

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General In The Forums

SyedaNida
SyedaNida posted in Debating:
yup
reply 10 minutes
LUCYQWERTY123
wow this topic is rarely spoken, thanks for sharing it!! [s:p/zxl] 8) 8)
reply about 2 hours
AlphaT
AlphaT posted in Debating:
On a "normal" person, Polygraphs have a 70%-90% success rate. Now, the problem is that a lot of people aren't "normal". Some people are naturally anxious or have an anxiety disorder, which can mess up the results. Obese people often tend to sweat more, which will give the sensors bad readings.  So, is it a good tool for finding the truth? In certain circumstances, yes. Is it enough to convict someone of a crime? No. 
reply about 7 hours
XxRuby_PhoenixxX
Definitely not. A person can learn to control their heartbeat and lying skills, so the tests are most definitely NOT a accurate. 
reply about 7 hours
iambatman
iambatman posted in Say Anything:
Kirsteeeeen said I should post this so yeaOk so some things about my depression are like i found out i had it when i was 10. I might of had it before then but Idk. But like is a good thing i joined kw cause that's how my friend on here like figured out that i have depression and basically made me tell my mom and dad. And like also i kinda wanted to die and stuff and then later i kinda wanted to kill my self. And hurt my self. I kinda did a little bit but like not that much. And so like i had to do this weird therapy that didn't work. And then it kept getting worse and stuff and then like i went to the doctor and got some medicine but like they didn't give me any for almost a year probably until i was closer to 12. But the first one they tried made me like wake up sometimes and basically be really anxious like freaking out so much that i thought i might hurt myself or kinda other people or do things like run away. But it kinda helped the depression during the day and helped me to sleep sometimes better but like also i stopped wanting to do anything. So then i got a different one but it made me dizzy as soon as i tried it basically and so like after 3 days maybe then I spotted. But then i had to wait for them to get out of my system. After that i starred like regular therapy where you talk to the therapist. Like people told me it was bad so i really didn't want to go for a long time, but i went and it was kind of fun i guess like i could say anything and he wouldn't like be mad about me saying it or anything like he didn't judge and stuff. So i did that for a while like 2 or 3 months and i was feeling a lot better from that and some off the things we did. But like since my dad got a new job it has different insurance so i have to switch but we're just waiting to see like if i need to right now
reply about 8 hours