LOON LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) – Believe it or not, jellyfish have recently been reported at a Minnesota lake.
However, they’re actually freshwater ones that aren’t unheard of in our state. About 20 to 30 lakes have them, including Loon Lake, a tiny one on the Whitefish Chain north of Brainerd.
The Whitefish Chain is known for its beauty and peacefulness, and it’s a place Shannon Huber goes annually for adventure.
“We go up, watch wildlife,” he said.
He also watched freshwater jellyfish in the water recently.
“You can see the movement there of the jellyfish,” he said.
He saw tiny dots, many clustered together, while boating on Loon Lake. Huber couldn’t believe his eyes, and no one could believe him.
“I was kind of in disbelief, and when I said jellyfish, I thought that I’m going to get kind of razzed by my wife and parents, which I did, till they saw them, and they said, ‘Wow! You’re right!’ And there they were, jellyfish,” he said.
The Freshwater jellyfish came from China and have been in North America for more than 100 years.
Gary Montz studies the jellyfish for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He says they’re exotic, not invasive.
“It’s just out there. (They are) one of those strange, unique, interesting little life forms that are in our lake that most people don’t know anything about,” said Montz.
Freshwater jellyfish grow to about the size of a penny. They only live in this adult stage for about a week, in warm water.
“These are so small that even though they have stinging cells, they can’t penetrate our skin,” Montz added. “So you’re not going to have any harm from them at all. If you’re swimming with them, wading with them, pick one up, they’re not going to harm you at all.”
Shannon spent an hour, hanging over the boat’s side, taking home video and snapping photos of them.
“I’ll be looking for them again every year we go up,” Huber said.