Thursday, April 2, 2009

End of Summer

Blue-bottle or Physalia or Portugese Man-o'-war

A coconut from the tropics

Despite wild seas ,lots of rain ,and water temperature turning colder by the minute, there is still lots to enjoy at the local beach. A coconut washed from afar covered in mussels and thousands of Blue-bottles appearing as a tangled mess at the high water mark made an impression today. Blue-bottles belong to the family Coelenterata (from koilos meaning hollow and enteron meaning intestine) and the group Hydrozoa (hyd water and zoa animals) In Coelenterata, which also include jelly-fish, corals and anemones ,the alimentary canal is not marked off from the body cavity so one space acts for both. The blue balloon like "float" is unique as it has accurate divisions into halves and quarters along the seam . They also make a loud popping sound when you step on one just for fun. Below the float hangs a cluster of dark blue polyps which have different functions, digestion,reproduction and defence.The defence tentacles are loaded with stinging capsules which leave a long red welt across your body if you happen across one while in the water.Ouch!
So from now less time at the beach and more time in the garden.

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