Trivia question for Nov-11-2011
Both Olivia and Carter are guest speakers tomorrow at the Mote Aquarium 2011 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit and in honor of the event they both decided to feature something that lives in the ocean for their trivia. Lets see how they do.
These odd looking creatures trail long tentacles, some of which are armed with powerful stinging cells that stun or kill fish and other prey. Their sting isn’t powerful enough to kill humans, but it can cause severe pain that persists for several days.
The guys are responsible for up to 10,000 human stings in Australia each summer, particularly on the east coast, with some others occurring off the coast of South Australia and Western Australia. The stinging venom-filled nematocysts in the tentacles of these creatures can paralyze small fish and other prey. Detached tentacles and dead specimens (including those that wash up on shore) can sting just as painfully as the live creature in the water, and may remain potent for hours or even days after the death of the creature or the detachment of the tentacle.
So here are the kids questions: Tell us what this invertebrate is and how they are able to effortlessly catch the winds and water currents that carry it far across the open oceans? Also, tell us how these guys got their name and which fish is thought to be immune to their venom?
Good Luck 😉
Congratulations goes out Gina Vaughn for being the first to identify the polyp we featured. The Portuguese Man-of-War is actually different than a jellyfish. Jellyfish are considered medusa and are typically found in coastal areas. They are capable of swimming actively, while the man-of-war is a colony of many individuales that drift passively with the wind and currents.
The Man-of-War is found in warm water seas floating on the surface of open ocean, its air bladder keeping it afloat and acting as a sail while the rest of the organism hangs below the surface. It has no means of self-propulsion and is entirely dependent on winds, currents, and tides. The name “man-of-war” is taken from the man-of-war, a 16th century English armed sailing ship which was based on an earlier Portuguese vessel.
A small fish called Nomeus lives among the man-of-war’s tentacles. It is thought to be immune to the venom. The Ocean Sunfish’s primary diet consists of jellyfish, but it can also consume Portuguese Man o’ War. Because of the Ocean Sunfish’s size and bulk, it must consume large amounts of these animals to compensate for their low nutritional value. Here is more on these opportunistic feeders: Portuguese Man-Of-War
Thanks for playing along 😉
BTW, Olivia and Carter did a great job at the Mote Aquarium 2011 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit earlier today and we wish to thank all the participants for attending our workshops. We also wish to thank Sean Russel and his family for doing such a great job coordinating the entire event.
Thanks again for everything 😉