Who Knew We Had Jelly Fish in Northern Ontario?

It’s always interesting to learn something new about the area we live in and so when we found out that there’s such a thing as fresh water jelly fish living in lakes and rivers around Sudbury, we thought we’d pass the information on to you. There have been sightings reported as early as the 1950s although those people who reported them weren’t fully believed at the time. As time passed and more and more people reported seeing them researchers started investigating.

Originally from the Yangtze basin in China, fresh water Jelly Fish are a non- invasive species now found throughout the world in bodies of fresh water. They are thought to have been imported here with ornamental aquatic plants from China.

Fresh water jelly fish

Have you ever seen a fresh water jelly fish in the lakes and rivers of northern Ontario?

Fresh water jelly fish have been sighted in most provinces of Canada. People have reported seeing them in lakes around the north including Anderson Lake near Espanola, various areas in Georgian Bay, French River, the west arm of Lake Nipissing and in many lakes on the way to Sault Ste. Marie. To see the entire list you can visit freshwaterjellyfish.org. The website also has a form to fill out to report any sightings.

They are a translucent milky white colour and are about one inch in diameter and can have up to 400 tentacles that rim the outer edges of its body. They tend to gather together and are called a “bloom of jelly fish” when they do so.

Fresh water jelly fish eat zooplankton which they catch with their tentacles which wait poised to sting their prey. Unlike the sting of a salt water jelly fish which can be lethal, the poison injected by fresh water jelly fish is only used to paralyze their prey and isn’t at all dangerous to humans. There have been reports by some people who have described getting irritated skin while swimming through a bloom of them.

Though they are a non-native species they are not thought to be invasive nor detrimental to our lakes and waterways so for once we don’t have to be worried about its effects on our environment.

“I used to think an ocean of soda existed, but it was just a Fanta sea.” Bec Hill
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