Pectinatella magnifica, freshwater Bryozoans in Lake Monroe

It was the longest day of the year Sunday, and Jojo and I took a ride to Lake Monroe to cool off. As we were walking along the shore line, Jojo spotted several colonies of Bryzoans (Pectinatella magnifica) in the water. We had found them two years ago, but last year the water was high all summer, and we found just one small colony.

These animals filter water for bacteria and clay, and although they look very strange, but they actually help water quality. Pectinatella magnifica is the fresh water version of the bryozoan family, which has been on earth since the Ordovician period, nearly 486 million years ago. This means they are one of the oldest animal familys, along with their cousins the corals. The colonies are gelatinous, with the creatures living along outside. They have retractable tentacles that grab tiny particles in the water. We lifted one out of the water, and it seemed to be filled with water. They are reputed to have and oder that repels fish, but we did not smell them.

Here are a couple of videos of them bobbing in the water, and here are some photos.

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