Aquatic and Land Animal Diversity

Aquatic Animals

What fish have a symbiotic relationship with the Portuguese man-of-war?

The Portuguese man-of-war (Physalia physalis) is a floating hydrozoan and is actually a colony of four types of polyps—each with a “duty,” such as allowing the organism to float or gathering food. Certain fish, such as the yellowjack and the clownfish, all live within the tentacles. Some of these fish, in particular the clownfish, produce a slimy mucus that causes the man-of-war not to fire its stingers, while other types of fish rely on a specialized swimming pattern—swimming near the surface in various directions to avoid the man-of-war’s stings.


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