Volume 12 in the Campaign Chunks series will be another themed set. This time its all about real-world creatures. Some will be deadly, some gentle, or they could be massive or now extinct. The kick things off we have the Portuguese man o’ war.
Campaign Chunk Volume 12.01 – Portuguese man o’ war
The Portuguese man o’ war (PMOW) is a so-called (incorrectly) jellyfish that lives in the sea. It gets its name from the bladder like object on the top of it that resembles the sail of the 15th/16th-century ship of the same name, just with a blue tint or hue to it. To be exact the PMOW is a is not a single animal: it is a siphonophore or a colony of four kinds of zooids. Zooids are very small, highly modified individuals. All the zooids in a colony/creature are genetically identical.
Ignoring the tentacles, it is typically around 30×12 cm in size.
The PMOW main habitat is the surface of the Atlantic. As the creature has no natural means of propelling itself, it is at the mercy of the ocean currents. It is normally found in tropical waters, but, it has also been seen as far north as the west coast of Scotland and the Bay of Fundy in Northern America.
One thing the PMOW is famous, or perhaps infamous, for is its venomous sting. These stings cause immense pain for humans and many other creatures that are unfortunate to brush against one. The venom causes red-welts to appear on the skin, but the more dangerous aspect of this venom is that it can travel to the lymph nodes and may cause symptoms that mimic an allergic reaction including swelling of the larynx, airway blockage, cardiac distress, and an inability to breathe. Immediate medical attention is always recommended. Even when detached, or the PMOW finds itself washed ashore, the tentacles are still deadly and should be avoided.
The PMOW is, surprisingly, a carnivore. It uses its tentacles, which can reach up to 165 feet/50 meters long, to sting its prey into paralysis. It generally feeds on small fish and plankton. As of yet, only the Nomeus gronovii is known to be immune to the man-of-war’s stinging cells and lives among its tentacles.
Hooks & Rumours
- It has been discovered that mixing the chemical in the PMOW sting with other illegal drugs adds a new level to the experience. Illegal and hidden farms are springing up to breed these jellyfish for this purpose. Rumours abound that there is one “farm” that holds thousands of the creatures.
- A small child was stung by a PMOW whilst playing in the sea. Despite the painful venom attacking her body, she exhibited very few other symptoms from the attack and , for her age, returned to a normal state in a relatively quick time. Further examination revealed he had some kind of natural anti-venom in her system. Scientists are now looking for funding to help further this research.
- A mutant PMOW has been spotted that was almost 3 times the regular size. This was thought to be a one-off until another was spotted just off the coast of Scotland. More are being spotted every day and investigations are underway as to what is causing this rapid and unnatural growth. Current theories include natural mutation and artificial experimentation