Phy*sa"li*a (?), n. [NL., fr. Gr. a bladder, fr. a bellows.] Zool.

A genus of large oceanic Siphonophora which includes the Portuguese man-of-war.

⇒ It has a large air sac, or float, with a sail-like crest on its upper side. Numerous zooids of different kinds are attached to the under side of the float. Some of the zooids have very long tentacles; some have a mouth and digest food; others produce gonophores. The American species (Physalia arethusa) is brilliantly colored, the float being pink or purple, and bright blue; the zooids blue. It is noted for its virulent stinging powers, as well as for its beautiful colors, graceful motions, and its ability to sail to windward.

 

© Webster 1913.

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