Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blob blog

As I mentioned on yesterday's "What's That?" post, I had no idea what the weird blobs I had found last weekend could possibly be.  Thanks to Steve Willson of Blue Jay Barrens for his answer:  BRYOZOANS.  Try googling bryozoans and you'll see lots of references to alien life forms. 

These particular blobs are actually Pectinatella magnifica a freshwater species of bryozoans or moss animals.  They're colonies of tiny aquatic invertebrates with an extensive fossil record going back 500 million years.

The majority of bryozoan species are found in salt water.  Each colony is made up of individual animals called zooids.  They are filter feeders with tentacles for grabbing tiny protozoa and algae from the surrounding water.  Some species give off chemicals that are being studied for use in medicine.

Amazing, fascinating creatures.  Reminds me of "The Borg" from Star Trek. Intrigued and want to learn more?  Visit these websites: and (a professor studying freshwater bryozoans) (gorgeous photos of freshwater bryozoans including species found in Europe) (This link has a great detailed black and white drawing of Pectinatella magnifica

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this artical and the links to other sites. I saw a pond full of these otherworldly pods off of the Connecticut River near Chester, CT. We thought we came across the vaguard to an alien invasion!