MAN. O. WARRRRRRR.
Physalia pelagica [Physalia physalis] - The Portuguese Man-o-War
All the fascinating biological facts about the Portuguese Man-O-War aside, did you know that its name was actually coined as a derisive snipe at the Portuguese navy? Powerful and feared for centuries, they were in a period of steep decline during the 19th century. The appearance of the Man-O-War, especially when washed ashore, struck mid-century English explorers as a capsizing ship, or a sail with no boat to propel.
In the end, I wouldn’t call the name completely derogatory. This siphonophore is the epitome of pain for most people who encounter them…they may look goofy, but unless you’re a loggerhead turtle, blue sea slug, or blanket octopus, it’s still not much to laugh at. The first two creatures eat these guys as a main part of their diet, and the blanket octopus is apparently *crazy* and will rip tentacles off of the Man-O-War, waving them around as a defensive measure.
Animaux Venimeux et Venins. Marie Phisalix, 1922.