Freshwater jellyfish found in DeGray Lake

CLARK COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) - You may find you're sharing the lake with a unusual visitor this summer. A viewer contacted us on Twitter asking for answers after they saw a creature you normally only see at the beach in an Arkansas lake.

This is video of a freshwater jellyfish THV viewer Kristen Cagle found this past weekend at DeGray Lake.

According to Ben Batten, a program coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says sightings of the umbrella-shaped creatures may not be as rare as you might think.

"Freshwater jellyfish, while a lot of people don't know about it, are a somewhat common resident of Arkansas waters. I was able to find places where they were documented in 50 different water bodies in Arkansas."

For Talan Smith and his uncle, DeGray Lake is a place they come to fish.

"We see fish jumping out of the water and little shad jumping out."

But, never before has Smith spotted a freshwater jelly.

"It would be really crazy to see one in the lake."

According to Game and Fish, freshwater jellyfish only live in their adult stage for about a week.

But, because of all the rain we've had so far this year Batten says more plankton has been created, which is why the freshwater jellyfish are showing up in the first place.

"The reason people get very excited is because they're unpredictable and they're not often seen year to year in the same place. We've had them in everywhere from small ponds in Little Rock to the great big Corps of Engineers reservoirs like Bull Shoals, Lake Ouachita and Greers Ferry."

Batten says the jellies usually show up where there's high water quality and there's no documentation of them being a harm to humans.

"Not a nuisance, not a harm in any fashion. Really, just kind of a nice curiosity and something for us to talk about."

Freshwater jellyfish have been found in 46 states.


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