Microscopy Primer
Light and Color
Microscope Basics
Special Techniques
Digital Imaging
Confocal Microscopy
Live-Cell Imaging
Photomicrography
Microscopy Museum
Virtual Microscopy
Fluorescence
Web Resources
License Info
Image Use
Custom Photos
Partners
Site Info
Contact Us
Publications
Home

The Galleries:

Photo Gallery
Silicon Zoo
Pharmaceuticals
Chip Shots
Phytochemicals
DNA Gallery
Microscapes
Vitamins
Amino Acids
Birthstones
Religion Collection
Pesticides
BeerShots
Cocktail Collection
Screen Savers
Win Wallpaper
Mac Wallpaper
Movie Gallery

Differential Interference Contrast Image Gallery

Portuguese Man-of-War Tentacles

The Portuguese man-of-war, known as the bluebottle in Australia, has a jelly-like appearance, but is not a jellyfish. In fact, the organism is not even a single entity.

A colony of polyps that live interdependently make up the “animal” known as the Portuguese man-of-war. Its “body” is a translucent, gas-filled float called a pneumatophore. Attached to the float is a crest that acts like a sail and moves the organism through the water. Underneath the float are three different types of polyps: dactylozooid, gonozooid, and gastrozooid. Each kind of polyp carries out specific functions and contributes to the survival of the colony.

The dreaded tentacles of the Portuguese man-of-war belong to the dactylozooid polyps it contains. Their stinging nematocysts can paralyze small prey and cause immense pain to humans, which is sometimes accompanied by powerful allergic reactions that lead to fever and shock, as well as heart and lung problems. In fact, the toxin exuded by the tentacles of the Portuguese man-of-war is about 75 percent as powerful as the venom of a cobra. Even when they are washed up on the beach, the tentacles remain dangerous and should not be touched with bare skin.

Some animals, however, do not appear to be adversely affected by the tentacles of the Portuguese man-of-war. The loggerhead turtle, for instance, frequently eats the marine organisms. Also, a small fish scientifically described as Nomeus gronovii lives comfortably among the tentacles, using them as protective cover from predators and occasionally feeding upon them. Since they are constantly regenerated, the tentacles provide an interminable food source to any species that can safely ingest them.

BACK TO THE DIC IMAGE GALLERY

Questions or comments? Send us an email.
© 1998-2013 by Michael W. Davidson and The Florida State University. All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to all of the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
This website is maintained by our
Graphics & Web Programming Team
in collaboration with Optical Microscopy at the
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Last modification: Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:43 AM
Access Count Since April 22, 2003: 22569
For more information on microscope manufacturers,
use the buttons below to navigate to their websites: