Monday, April 29, 2013

The Ohio River Jellyfish

Photo by Myriah Richerson, USGS
Today's post really isn't paranormal, but its interesting, ALMOST falls under the cryptid category, and involves the tri-state area, so its fair game.  The topic:  The Ohio River Jellyfish.

I had honestly never heard about freshwater jellyfish until just recently when I read some comments on one of my Reddit posts.  My blog about the Freshwater Mountain Octopus was added to that website, and actually brings in a lot of traffic, so I was checking out some of the comments.  Someone had posted that they thought the idea of a freshwater octopus in this region was plausible as a newly discovered species because, after all, the Ohio River WAS home to a verified species of freshwater jellyfish!

These little guys are known as the craspedacusta sowerbii and they are actually indigenous to China's Yangtze River.  However since the late 1950s, there has been sporadic explosions of the species in various rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water throughout the United States and elsewhere in the world.  In 1978, the jellyfish were confirmed in four different sections of the Ohio River,  including an area nearby Gallipolis...right across the river from Mothman's Country--Pt. Pleasant, WV.

The Ohio River jellyfish are much tinier than other versions of the same species, and are only about the size of a penny.  It is theorized that they are transported with ornamental plants, and even with fish and water fowl  (and, possibly Mothman??).  What's strange about these Ohio River specimens is that these jellyfish usually prefer the calmer waters of lakes and quarries, not the turbulent and generally yucky Ohio River waters.

So now, not only can the Ohio River lay claim to catfish as big as Volkswagons and possibly larger, it can now lay claim to a teenie tiny strange little freshwater jellyfish.  Keep that in mind the next time you go boating....

USGS Fact Sheet
Ohio Journal of Science

NOTE:  If you wish to do further research on this topic beyond the links provided, you might want to search for the scientific name of this creature and avoid the term "Ohio River Jellyfish."  It seems that this is a local term that means something quite different that you're more likely to encounter in the Ohio River, lol.


  1. I just found your site today and am thoroughly enjoying it. But when I ran across this about the Ohio River Jellyfish, my mind immediately went to when I was a little girl and my parents had a somewhat secluded little boat dock in western PA. When I'd play in the water, I would get samples of it (I was a total nerd and would love to study the crayfish and other life in the water. One day I was so surprised to have caught a tiny little jellyfish, right there off the Ohio River in Beaver County, PA. No mistaking it at all, just very very tiny. I showed my parents and they were surprised, too, as we'd never heard of Jellyfish being in the rivers in our neck of the woods.
    Thank you for this article, and for bringing back interesting memories of my childhood. ...

    1. Thank you for your comment, crmak! I just recently learned about these jellyfish myself and thought they were interesting!

  2. Hey Theresa!

    I have been trying to find a way to contact you (email) before just leaving a comment. We have a lot of the same interests. I work at a tattoo shop in Montgomery, right beside the go mart actually. I know a lot of people in the town's history club and visit the town hall frequently. I could probably get a copy of a photo of the old building. I am going to leave my email on here I would love to swap some creepy locations with you. I have lived in WV my entire life and I have quite the collection of spooky places I like to visit. I am sure you know of way more but if I can tell you about one you don't know of I consider that a win! :)

    And I decided to comment on this story because I found the exact little jelly fish at the Summersville damn when I was a kid! I have never seen them anywhere else. They looked like the photo and there had to be at least 100 of them in a little school. This was close to 15 years ago.

    My name is Jessica and you can email me at sugarpalacesnocones@yahoo