- n. A floating colony of hydrozoans (Physalia physalis) attached to a float; it superficially resembles a jellyfish.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) any species of the genus Physalia; it is a hydrozoan having both medusa and polyp stages present in a single colony. It floats on the surface of the sea by a buoyant bladderlike structure, from which dangle multiple long tentacles with stinging cells. Its can cause severe rashes when it comes in contact with humans swimming in the area. See Physalia.
- adj. (Zoöl.) See Physalia.
- n. large siphonophore having a bladderlike float and stinging tentacles
“In my last letter I think I mentioned to you that I had worked out and sent home to the President of the Linnean Society, through Captain Stanley, an account of Physalia, or Portuguese man-of-war as it is called, an animal whose structure and affinities had never been worked out.”
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