Remember the old game, 20 Questions? You know, where you start by asking if it's an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral?


Well, if you use the gross and bizarre THING that was recently discovered in Lake Barkley as your subject, good luck.

Years and years ago, when I was a tike, my family and I would go swimming at Fish & Game in eastern Daviess County. As much as I loved swimming, I didn't back then because the bottom of the lake was muddy and that just didn't feel good under my bare feet. Neither did the actual fish that were nipping at our ankles.


Had we come across THIS biological entity (seriously, biology teachers must have had tears in their eyes over this one), we never would have gone back.

I've been swimming in Lake Barkley and never once have I come across a Bryozoa, and I wouldn't have known I had if I actually had. "Oh, gee, I think I just brushed up against a Bryozoan...happens all the time."

The truth is, it's harmless...but I don't think you'd want to touch it.


According to Lake Barkley's Facebook page,

"Most people mistake these 'jelly balls' for frog eggs of some type of bizarre fungus. Actually, they are a colony of microscopic, filter-feeding invertebrates called Bryozoa. Bryozoans group together in larger colonies forming these 'jelly balls' or 'moss animals' that can be as large as basketballs. They have small tentacles that filter the water capturing phytoplankton and other organic matter."

Wow, suddenly I'm transported back to Mr. Roby's 10th-grade biology class.

Anyway, they ARE harmless and actually help keep the water clean by taking care of the algae. It kind of reminds me of the way daddy-long-legs cluster together to form what looks like large balls of black twine. We have them everywhere outside our house. But we DON'T have Bryozoans, although I now know that would be totally fine.

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