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Portuguese man-of-war snares a warbler

Ocean Oddity

This isn’t something you see every day. On a recent expedition in the Gulf of Mexico aboard the research vessel Atlantis, Bosun Patrick Hennessy spotted this curious sight off the stern: a warbler ensnared in the tentacles of a Portuguese man-of-war jelly. “I suspect the interaction is accidental—Physalia are not known to prey on birds!” said Laurence Madin, director of research at WHOI and an expert on jellies. “It's very unlikely it could actually ingest the bird. The multiple gastrozooids do stretch to take in their normal prey, which are mostly larval and juvenile fishes, but these are smaller, slipperier, and more streamlined than a bird.” (Photo by Chris Linder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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