The Blob That Swallowed Montour Preserve

Freshwater Bryozoan at Montour Preserve

Well, not quite, but it is certainly one of the most unusual animals you might encounter. It looks like an alien brain of sorts and lives in fresh water. Rather than  being a single organism, it is a collection or colony of organisms living together. They are considered to be animals. Biologists call them colonial bryozoans.  Most people call it a blob. This jelly like mass recently washed ashore. It had been anchored to a log or branch before wave and wind action broke it loose. These gelatinous masses have distant relatives dating back 500 million years. In fact, with some patient searching, you might just find a fossil bryozoan in Montour Preserve’s fossil pit. Or you can look for a modern-day bryozoan along the lake shore.

4 Comments

  1. salamndstron said,

    August 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Is that the recently discovered Drakozoon?

    http://davidappelman.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/425-million/?gcid=aug16

    • PPL Preserves said,

      August 17, 2011 at 9:56 am

      No, bryozoans are entirely different creatures. It appears that the drakozoon is a single organism while bryozoans are composed of many creatures living together much like coral does but in a soft-bodied form. They filter food out of the water much like coral does, also.

  2. Rose Kerr said,

    October 12, 2011 at 12:35 am

    I believe I found this “creature” this week located in a river in Northern Wisconsin. Is this something that should be reported to someone?

    • PPL Preserves said,

      October 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      Rose,

      These colonial bryozoans, “the creature” are rather uncommon, but certainly not harmful. They are an indicator of good quality water. There probably some folks in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources who would find your observation interesting, if you know who to contact. I’m curious about where in northern Wisconsin you found the bryozoans. I have made frequent trips to northwestern Wisconsin over the years, so I know a little about the area.


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