Jellyfish sighting puzzles Wisconsinites but experts say it's not rare
MADISON (WKOW)--- Video of a recent jellyfish sighting at Spencer Lake in Waupaca County has many Wisconsites curious about this invasive creature.
Experts say these freshwater jellyfish do have stingers, but they are too small to harm humans. The jellyfish only grow to the size of a penny and only eat small plankton in the water.
"The jellyfish are native to China. They likely got here as exotic pets in aquariums that were later dumped into lakes and ponds. They also might have come over in aquatic plants from Asia," says aquatic invasive species specialist Tim Campbell.
The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed sightings of freshwater jellyfish in 94 bodies of water in Wisconsin. They first found jellyfish in Skillet Creek Farm Pond near Baraboo in 1969. The jellyfish have also been found in Lake Mendota , Big Green Lake, Devil's Lake, Fox Lake and also in the Wingra Marsh Duck Pond in Dane County.
"We're not seeing a lot of impacts. We have seen lakes with freshwater jellyfish, but we don't really see a lot of impacts because of them," Campbell says.
Experts say a lot is still unknown about these invasive creatures. They're asking Wisconsites to help them slow down the spread, because the jellyfish aren't native to this area and might eventually cause problems to local wildlife.
"Inspect your boats for vegetation or mud. Remove that stuff, drain water. Don't dump aquarium plants outside and don't release unwanted aquarium pets. That's how invasive species are spread and we really don't want that to happen," Campbell explains.
If you happen to find a jellyfish, experts say you should take pictures and try to collect a sample. They're curious to learn more about them and whether or not they should be concerned about its impact on Wisconsin's lakes.
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