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Freshwater jellyfish swimming in some Arkansas waters

Divers and boaters have noticed some added life emerging in the waters of The Natural State.

Freshwater jellyfish, AGFC

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (September 29, 2016) – Divers and boaters have noticed some added life emerging in the waters of The Natural State. Freshwater jellyfish sightings have become more common in the last decade, but the species has shown no cause for alarm.

Freshwater jellyfish are native to the Yangtze River Valley in China, but were first discovered in the U.S. in 1880. Since that time, the species has been recorded in 44 states and the District of Columbia. The creatures are about the size of a penny in their adult stage and resemble white, translucent discs with three to nine small tentacles, which are used to catch small aquatic life. Unlike some saltwater varieties of jellyfish, freshwater jellies do not have the ability to sting humans and are harmless, but they can paralyze some macroinvertebrates and small fish.

“They’ve never really occurred in high enough populations to cause any sort of impact to the health of a fishery,” said Ben Batten, assistant chief of the AGFC’s Fisheries Division. “They’re more of a curiosity that we get calls about from time to time.”

Click here for more information about this interesting addition to Arkansas lakes.