A typical Siphonophore is a stock or cormus consisting of a number of appendages placed in organic connexion with one another by means of a coenosarc. The coenosarc does not differ in structure from that already described in colonial Hydrozoa.
The coenosarc may consist of a single elongated tube or stolon, forming the stem or axis of the cormus on which, usually, the appendages are arranged in groups termed cormidia; or it may take the form of a compact mass of ramifying, anastomosing tubes, in which case the cormus as a whole has a compact form and cormidia are not distinguishable.
The cormus is always differentiated into two parts; an upper portion termed the nectosome, in which the appendages are locomotor or hydrostatic in function, that is to say, serve for swimming or floating; and a lower portion termed the siphosome, bearing appendages which are nutritive, reproductive or simply protective in function.
Divergent views have been held by different authors both as regards the nature of the cormus as a whole, and as regards the homologies of the different types of appendages borne by it.
In cases where the cormus has no pneumatophore the topmost swimming bell may contain an oil-reservoir or oleocyst.