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Why Sailing Sea Animals Have Mirror Images

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Title:Why Sailing Sea Animals Have Mirror Images
Authors:Woodcock, Alfred H.
Date Issued:Jan 1997
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Woodcock AH. 1997. Why sailing sea animals have mirror images. Pac Sci 51(1): 12-17.
Abstract:The worldwide distribution of Physalia physalis (L.) (the Portuguese
man-of-war), a wind-propelled jellyfish-like animal on sea-surface waters, is a much
discussed but poorly understood phenomenon. The radically different courses sailed
by the two mirror-image forms of this organism appear to result from simply their
need for maximum dispersion by the winds on the earth's warmer seas. Study
reveals, however, that the two forms of P. physalis sail different mirror-image courses
and gain separate access to upwelling, diverging sea-surface waters that probably
contain their major food. These courses are sailed without obvious steering efforts
by the animals. Thus the wind-induced pattern of motion of the waters appears to
have markedly influenced the animal's form and sailing courses. Their behavior
apparently results from their natural involuntary use of steering effects of two wind induced
surface-water motions.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 51, Number 1, 1997

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