Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More About the Men of War, Which Haven't Reached the Sound Yet

The Portuguese men-of-war that have been drawing so much attention from swimmers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts arrive in the area by riding the Gulf Stream north and then moving west in big eddies of water that spin off the Stream. This is the same method of conveyance that sea turtles – loggerheads, greens, Kemp’s ridleys – use to reach the area.

The sea turtles often make it into Long Island Sound. As far as I can tell no Portuguese men-of-war have made it into the Sound yet, but if the sea turtles ride the currents in, why can’t the men-of-war? Maybe the difference is that the sea turtle ride the Gulf Stream and the eddies as far as they will take them, and then swim the rest of the way. The Portuguese men-of-war are planktonic and can go only where they’re taken by the currents.

In any case, here’s a couple more good new stories about the situation, from the Providence Journal and the New London Day.


Blogger Sam said...

There's "Men of War" again! You're making me go absolutely nuts!

The New London paper then mentions the M-O-W bladder is filled with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide! Are these puppies smoking crack or something? [Carbon monoxide is a by-product of combustion.]

Most likely it is carbon DIOXIDE and air. Sheesh.

As to the eddy currents, the M-O-W can't swim so the wind and wave action from the E and SE is what brings them in, in addition to the warm core and cold core current eddies.

To get them in LI Sound you would need a bunch of them brought in on the tide - incoming at the Race - after being washed and swept into the NW of Block Island Sound. /Sam

P.S., certain kinds of turtles love to eat the M-O-W.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Tom Andersen said...

I'm sticking with "men-of-war" until I'm convinced otherwise. I suppose the plural could be man of wars, but that sounds kind of dumb. And so would a sentence like this: "Four dozen Portuguese man-of-war caused panic among swimmers in Rhode Island yesterday."

There's a common bird around here called the tufted titmouse. As far as I know, the plural is tufted titmice, not titmouse or titmouses. Based on the same principle, I'm sticking with men-of-war.

It's also true that part of my mission is to make you go absolutely nuts, Sam!

11:02 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

LOL, it is summertime and the living is easy. Consider this:

The Frigate bird = Man-O-War bird.

Two Frigate birds = Man-O-War birds.

They are never "Men-O-War" birds!

Unless you think they are ...

Best / Sam

4:28 PM  

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