What in the World is Being Spotted Underneath Arkansas Lakes?
It looks like something out of a science fiction movie. What is being spotted in lakes across Arkansas? You won't believe this!
Freshwater jellyfish! When I think of jellyfish, I think of oceans but did you know that there are jellyfish in the great state of Arkansas? That's right, and September is the best time for seeing these bell-shaped translucent primitive life forms on Arkansas lakes. The best lake to see the jellyfish is Lake Ouachita near Hot Springs because of its clear pristine waters. Jellyfish usually swim in swarms and can easily be seen floating just below the surface of the lake. They are easy to spot because they give off a whitish or greenish hue depending on the sunlight.
They use their four long tentacles to propel them through the water and their smaller tentacles that dangle for catching food. They do have a large mouth and large stomach and their main food source is zooplankton found in the warm waters this time of the year. The jellyfish (Craspedacusta sowerbyi) is normally around 1 inch in diameter and is about the size of a penny.
Do Arkansas Jellyfish Sting?
While these jellyfish do have stinging cells known as cnidocytes they aren't quite big enough to hurt a human being. However, they will paralyze their prey, according to the website Lake Ouachita.org.
No, I'm not talking about something you wash your car with. I'm talking about Freshwater sponges found this time of year. Freshwater sponges are normally found on tops of submerged rocks and surfaces and they are usually a light tan or green color. Lake Ouachita is well known for scuba diving and snorkeling so don't be surprised you don't run across one or two.
Arkansas' largest and deepest lake is home to over 200 islands so plenty of room for exploring, including jellyfish. Other hot spots for spotting jellyfish in Arkansas near Texarkana are DeGray Lake and Lake Greeson. Freshwater jellyfish are not just seen in Arkansas but all over the world, some have even been seen in ponds.
So, with so many jellyfish in our state maybe we should rename a football team the Arkansas Jellyfish?
No, I think I'll stick with the Arkansas Razorbacks, that sounds so much more menacing!