17 September 2012

Portuguese man o' war at Rhossili

John Hewett wrote 'I spotted this handsome fellow beached on the high tide line at Rhossili bay last Friday. It has been a while since I have walked along this way and was taken aback by the volume of plastic washed up there these days. It's a wonder there is any fauna left.'
(c) J. Hewett
[Ed:  Even though individual Physalia physalis are not an unusual sight on the coasts of Britain and Ireland, mass standings are uncommon, occurring only 3 or 4 times a century (Wilson, 1947). The sting of Physalia physalis causes severe pain, skin lacerations, convulsions, respiratory distress and in some cases death (Williamson et al., 1996). The sting remains potent even after death and the tentacles should not be touched. Portuguese man o' war are carnivorous feeding mainly on small crustaceans and larval fish (Kirkpatrick & Pugh, 1984) ]

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