Blue Bottle

The name Blue Bottle just doesn’t cut it, not when you know the rest of the world calls them, the far more scary, Portuguese Men of War.

These creatures are more likely to sting you here, than in any other country, so the Australian name is especially disappointing – you’d get a lot more sympathy if you’d been stung by a Portuguese Man of War rather than a common Blue Bottle.

Most people think Blue Bottles are jellyfish, so when they get stung, they rush home and pour on the vinegar – the standard jellyfish treatment. Unfortunately they’re not jellyfish and vinegar actually triggers more stings.

Blue Bottles aren’t even a single animal, let alone a jelly fish, they’re actually colonies of organisms that live together.  Like sailors on a battleship, each organism has its specific task. One type makes the bubble that keeps them all afloat, another takes care of feeding, while others fire the weapons – the stinging ‘harpoons’.

These different organisms are known as Zooids – the ‘Zooids of War’, now that would have been a great name. Imagine the sympathy you would get if you got stung by one of those.



A few more facts from the people that know more about the marine life of Sydney than anyone else.

More info from the
Australian Museum


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