Treasures of nature

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Aruba National Park Foundation manages the Arikok National Park and 16 other nature reserves, as well as 4 marine protected areas. Discover some of Aruba’s natural treasures in our national park and nature reserves.

Man-of-War (Physalia physalis)

All kinds of things are washing up on our shores these days … marine debris, sargassum seaweed and even Portuguese Man-of-War (Physalia physalis). The Portuguese Man-of-War is not a jellyfish, but a siphonophore: a colony of specialized animals called zooids that work together as one. It was named after its resemblance to 18th century Portuguese warships. Portuguese Man-of-War do not swim but instead float on the surface, using wind and ocean currents to propel forward. Its tentacles – which it uses for capturing and eating fish and other small creatures – can grow as long as 50 meters (165 feet).

Beware: a Man-of-War sting is excruciatingly painful and even dead. Man-of-Wars washed up on shore can still deliver a sting.

The Teco (Bromelia humilis)

This is a ground bromeliad that readily grows in our dry climate, preferring hilly landscapes and some shade. It is well known for its purple flowers in a bright, red “heart” and its thorny, green leaves that grow in a rosette.

The plant protects soil from evaporation and therefore plays an important role in healthy and resilient terrestrial ecosystems. It can still be found in Curacao’s Christoffel National Park but has been overharvested and is now nearly extinct in the wild in Aruba and Bonaire. Some locals do still have them in their gardens, where they are easily propagated through their runners, grow profusely and provide ample ground cover in a short period of time. You can also come and admire them in our Hofi Shon Shoco, FPNA’s wildlife garden.

For more information visit the facebook page Aruba National Park Foundation.

Source: Aruba National Park Foundation