By Don Keller and Barry Smith, American Sport Fish
Although we do not see these strange looking “jelly balls” in every pond, they are more commonly found than many pond owners realize. These gelatinous balls normally attach to tree limbs or logs and are usually several feet beneath the surface. Occasionally, these balls will break loose and can be seen floating in the pond.
These “jelly balls” are actually primitive colonial invertebrates known as bryozoa, or “moss animals.” The balls usually range from the size of a soft ball to as large as a basketball. Although they are strange to view, they are harmless to you and the organisms in your pond. They begin to appear in the late spring and summer and will usually die in the late fall and winter. We have seen hundreds of these in some ponds and only a few in others. If you encounter one of these strange creatures in your pond, be assured they are not eggs of fish, frogs or Martians.