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By Christy Lowman

Burke Countya siphonophore Christy Lowman


Did you know that there is an animal that is named after an old eighteenth-century warship from Portugal? Can you imagine an animal that resembles an old wooden ship with sails? People in the Pacific Ocean call them Blue Bottles instead, due to their blue and purple color. The ones that live there tend to be smaller than the ones that live in the Atlantic Ocean. This animal looks like a jellyfish but isn’t. They can be found in every ocean around the world except for the Arctic. Do you know what it is? A Portuguese Man-O-War!

Portuguese Man-O-Wars are not just one animal, but instead, four colonies of organisms called zooids that work together. This type of animal is called a siphonophore. Each colony in the siphonophore has its own special job to do. They must do it to their best ability and work closely together because one colony cannot survive on its own.

The Portuguese Man-of-War is made up of four polyps. The first one is a carbon monoxide gas-filled sack or float that is like a bladder. It sits on top of the ocean water. This see-through blue float can deflate their bag and submerge in the water for a short time to avoid threats and predators on and above the ocean surface. This part of the Man-O-War is where it got its name from. They cannot swim on their own, the wind and ocean drifts decide where they are going to travel. At full sail, it looks like the Portuguese warships.

The second organism that makes up this unique animal is its tentacles. They extend below in the ocean anywhere from 30 feet to over 165 feet in length. This part is what makes the animal poisonous. The tentacles are filled with venom that is used to paralyze and kill fish, plankton, and small crustaceans it uses as food. They also use their tentacles for self-defense against predators like loggerhead sea turtles, ocean sunfish, Janthina janthina, the violet sea snail, and sea slugs from the Glaucus family. Humans can also feel their excruciating, painful sting but it is rarely deadly for them. Even a dead Man-O-War can sting so be careful.

The third colony is the gastrozooids. The muscles in the tentacle colony draw prey to this third polyp. This colony is the digestive organism that digests the food for the Man-O-War.

The last polyp is the reproductive organisms. This is where baby Man-of-Wars are made. Several Man-O-Wars, sometimes thousands, gather in the ocean for this part. A lot of fertilized eggs and babies are unfortunately consumed by predators. Those that survive and are born, can take care of their own from birth.

In a nutshell, Portuguese Man-O-Wars are carnivorous invertebrates that are made of several different colonies that work together to survive. The Man-O-War’s float can grow up to 6 inches high, five inches wide, and 12 inches long. Even though they have long venomous tentacles they are not considered jellyfish due to their colony structure.

This fascinating creature reminds me of the Trinity of God. The Trinity is made up of God the Father, God the Son (which is Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. The Father created everything in the heavens and earth and is ultimately God over the universe.

The Son, Jesus, came to the earth as a person, born to the virgin Mary. He came to save us all from our sins by dying on the cross. His sacrifice was the ultimate sacrifice. His death paved our way to heaven, where we join God when we die if we are believers.

The Holy Spirit is the part of God that comes down from heaven that joins our soul in our body when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior. It is our helper that leads and guides us to do the right thing. It helps to act more Christlike.

The Trinity is like the Man-O-War in the fact that the Trinity is made up of three different parts but work together also as one. They work together to save us from our sins so we can join them in heaven. Is that not awesome?

Dear Lord, I want to come today to thank you for caring so much for us that you pursue us with three separate entities. You created us, you made a pathway for us to be able to spend eternity with you, and you send a guide to live inside of us to help us live like Christ. Thank you for wanting a personal relationship with each one of us. I pray that we can live by Christ’s example to the full extent so others will want to become Christians. Help us bring others to you through our example. Draw them closer to You like moths to a flame. In Jesus’s name Amen.


“I and my Father are one.” John 10:30 KJV

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26 NKJV

16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and [a]He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17 NKJV

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19 NKJV





Christy Lowman is a Christian author and illustrator that lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and two children. She enjoys writing and illustrating books for all ages. Some of her short stories are published with Guideposts and HCI. Christy gives all the glory to God in everything she does. A portion of every book sold from the Small Bible Character Series will be donated to battle human trafficking. If you enjoy her books, “like’ her author page on Faceook and let her know! You can buy her books at // You can reach her at //


You can read more Christian news from Christy here.