Have you ever seen some of these guys in your pond? Don't be alarmed, they won't hurt you. While they do not look all that pleasant, they are actually helping the pond.
These creatures are known as bryozoans, or moss animals. Masses the size of the ones pictured are actually a colonies of thousands or possibly millions of these tiny organisms. While present in most ponds, these creatures thrive in eutrophic waters, or waters that have plenty of nutrients in them. They are filter feeders, constantly removing nutrients from the water. If you notice that your water quality is good and unusually clear, these may be the reason why. If they start to disappear, it could mean that your pond does not have enough nutrients to support them, but too many nutrients and you could see some the size of basketballs.
Bryozoans like to wrap around sticks or rocks or even fountain cables as we have noticed. Research is still ongoing to determine the habits of these jelly-like creatures, but don't worry too much if you see them lurking around your pond.
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Since 1998, SOLitude Lake Management has been committed to providing full service lake and pond management services that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Services are available throughout the Eastern United States. Fisheries management consulting and aquatic products are available nationwide. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.