Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Weird Aquatic Creatures in the Tennessee River?
The Tennessee Aquarium recently received this e-mail concerning the odd mass that appeared to be attempting to overtake their lake home's deck. "Can anyone tell me what this is? It was attached to a ladder on my deck. I live on the Tennessee River."
Dr. Anna George, the director of the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, explains that this is not just one "creature from the deep," it is a bunch of "creatures from the deep." Here is her reply: "I received your web inquiry about the photo. Believe it or not, that’s actually a colony of invertebrate animals in the group Bryozoa (also called moss animals). Each of those “bubbles” is made up of small animals that live together. Though they aren’t very attractive, they actually help clean water quality while they filter out their food."
For more information on bryozoans, see:
Sometimes bizarre-looking creatures turn out to be beneficial.