Freshwater jellyfish sighting in Greenville lake called rare by DNR


By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:08 pm on Friday, August 31, 2012

Alec and Trenton Martinez were fishing in Como Lake in Greenville recently when they spotted hundreds of freshwater jellyfish. They took a photo and released the creatures back into the lake.— Courtesy photo

GREENVILLE — Greenville residents recently caught a glimpse of nature that is not seen very often, maybe once every 15 years, according to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources official.

Alec, 14, and 13-year-old Trenton Martinez of Greenville were spending some time on Como Lake in Greenville when they stumbled upon craspedacusta sowerbii, also known as freshwater jellyfish.

“We were fishing with our stepdad in a canoe when we saw a swarm of them near the surface of the water,” said Alec Martinez.

He described them as being clear-colored and about the size of quarter.

“They didn’t bother us at all,” he said.

They put four of the creatures in a jar to take a photo and show the rest of the family, then released them back into the lake.

“(We) just thought they were kind of cool,” Alec Martinez said.

Fisheries Biologist Tom Goniea said he starts to get reports about the jellyfish at this time every year, late in the summer. He said the relatives of actual jellyfish do not have the stinging capabilities of an actual jellyfish.

“They do not pose a threat to swimmers or the public,” Goniea said.

Alec and Trenton Martinez were fishing in Como Lake in Greenville recently when they spotted hundreds of freshwater jellyfish. They took a photo and released the creatures back into the lake. — Courtesy photo

Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division Manager Jay Wesley in Plainwell said there are records of the jellyfish dating back to the 1800s.

“Yes, they do exist in southern Michigan lakes,” Wesley said. “They are a little different than the jellyfish you see in a marine environment, but they look very much like a jellyfish and are usually seen in deeper waters.”

Most of the freshwater jellyfish are about the size of penny up to the size of a quarter and very sporadic.

“You might see them one year and then not see them again for 15 years (in the same lake),” Wesley said.

Most of the jellyfish develop into polyps (a sedentary animal form) on the bottom of the lake and do not emerge, only emerging as a jellyfish for a brief part of their life cycle.

“I wouldn’t say they are common, but they do occur,” Wesley said.

About the Author
Follow Us
Rate this Article
VN:R_U [1.9.10_1130]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)