|Photo by Myriah Richerson, USGS|
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.