Bryozoans- A Moss Animal that Shows How Healthy Fishhawk Lake is!
Fishhawk Lake-Bryozoans-Who Knew??
Last night, we had our new neighbors over to get to know them. One of the questions that came up was about some gelatinous gob of goo they saw while on a kayak trip this last weekend on Fishhawk Lake. I have seen this and I swore that it was eggs waiting to hatch that would become some of our resident salamanders who are both land-dwelling and aquatic.
I, however, was wrong! In doing some research online, my neighbor, Bobby found that instead they are called Bryozoans.
(This was exactly what I saw one day on the dock by one of our boatramps).
Not very attractive name or look, but interesting nonetheless. He found a link called “PondPros Blog” and it was addressing a question that a customer had about using their products safely with this “thing” that he took pictures of. Turns out that they are freshwater Bryozoans and this was how they were defined according to the blogger’s aquatic experts.
Bryozoans are colonies of zooids that function together to outcompete other creatures for a similar food source. They are filter
feeders that are
not finicky in their feeding habits. They filter the water and consume whatever microorganisms pass through their filter. These may include bacteria
(both good and bad), protozoa, amoeba, planktonic algae, zoo plankton and the
spores or young of these various organisms.
They do not consume non-living wastes that pass through the filter; only living organisms are taken up as food. It appears that they can only exist and thrive in oxygen rich and food rich environments. They also require a fairly clean (no turbidity from clay/silt) water. One other limiting factor would appear to be
depth. A researcher noted that freshwater bryozoans were limited in his observation to around 6 feet of depth.
Commonly called a “moss animal”, here is what Wikipedia had to say:
[bryozoans] are a phylum of aquaticinvertebrate animals. Typically about 0.5 millimetres (0.020 in) long, they are filter feeders that sieve food particles out of the water using a retractable lophophore, a “crown” of tentacles lined with cilia. Most marine species live in tropical waters, but a few occur in oceanic trenches, and others are found in polar waters. One class lives only in a variety of freshwater environments, and a few members of a mostly marine class prefer brackish water. Over 4,000 living species are known. One genus is solitary and the rest colonial.
They are called zooids because they are not a completely independent animals. One of the positives mentioned above is that Fishhawk Lake must be an oxygen rich environment with it being a clean, turbidity-free environment, because these are being found here. Fishhawk Lake is our community’s water source, so when we see these creatures in our waters, I think it’s a good sign! Here was another positive that we can assume, as written in ProPond’s blog:
In light of these observations, First of all, bryozoans appear to be beneficial to removing unwanted organisms from the water, so elimination of them would likely be detrimental to the aquatic environment.
So, leave them be if you see them, they’re a good moss animal to have around! (Yet, something ELSE in our little community to talk about while on Fishhawk Lake!)
*This one’s for you, Bobby…thank you and glad you are my newest neighbors!*