This is not a late April Fools' Day prank. Did you know there are jellyfish in Minnesota? It's true and it's pretty interesting to wrap your head around. Who knew we could have sea creatures here?!

I have to give a shoutout to Minnesota Wildlife, who first shared this exciting news on their Facebook page on Saturday (July 23rd). When I saw their post, I thought it was some sort of prank. I guess Minnesota really does have it all. Ha!

Speaking of unusual animals in Minnesota, I just learned what a goral was thanks to the Lake Superior Zoo! A new baby goral was born at the zoo recently and I had never heard of a goral prior to the announcement.

I am so glad I did learn what a goral was though because they are absolutely precious! The baby goral is now the fourth goral at the Lake Superior Zoo. The new baby goral is sure to be a fan favorite for those that visit the zoo.

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Between the goral and the jellyfish, we have a wide variety of animals and aquatic life in Minnesota. The jellyfish we have in Minnesota are not the same kind you'd find in an ocean, of course. Minnesota has freshwater jellyfish!

According to Minnesota Wildlife, the jellyfish are not found in all Minnesota lakes and they can't be found year round either. They say that they can be found in "some" lakes during the late summer season.

They also differ from other jellyfish in that they won't sting you if you get too close. Minnesota Wildlife says that they won't sting you because they aren't able to. They are the size of a quarter and are free-floating.

What freshwater jellyfish do have in common with other jellyfish is that they can catch "zooplankton in its tentacles" like those found in the ocean. They don't look too different, either! (It should be noted the photo in this article is that of a moon jellyfish, which looks similar to a freshwater jellyfish but not the exact same.)

USGS.com offers even more information on these exotic creatures, like their habits and where they have been reported. According to the website, these freshwater jellyfish are known as peach blossom fish in China.

Here are some other fun facts I learned while browsing their research:

  • Freshwater jellyfish can be as small as five mm in diameter and as big as 25 mm.
  • They are translucent with tinges of white and green.
  • They have tentacles of varying lengths, with between three to seven tentacles between longer tentacles.
  • Their short tentacles help them find food while their longer tentacles help them float throughout freshwater lakes.
  • They can have between 50 to 500 tentacles at once.

Not only is it incredible that we have freshwater jellyfish in some Minnesota lakes, but these facts are even more mind-blowing. I can't believe these jellyfish can be so small. The only jellyfish I have ever seen are those at zoos.

Even cooler is that fact that there have been freshwater jellyfish right here in the Northland! A freshwater jellyfish was first reported in Minnesota in 1999 and one was last spotted in 2021. There have been twelve freshwater jellyfish sightings in Minnesota since the first report in 1999.

Spots that these sightings have occurred include Cloquet, Leech Lake and St. Louis County, among many others. How cool! Wisconsin has had almost double the reports, with about 23 sightings since 1969.

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