What Is A “Bryozoan?”

A marine biologist will know the answer right away but the rest of us anglers may just scratch our heads. You have most likely seen a “bryozoan” while fishing. Curious?


A Bryozoan is a water animal or zooid, that’s right, an animal. They look pretty weird. You may have thought they were fish eggs, some kind of water mushroom, a long-dead fish, or just a blob. The latter is the most correct since the “sack-looking thing” is referred to as a “jelly blob”.

This blob looks like jelly but holds a secret. This sack supports a bunch of Bryozoan on the surface. Aha! Now we know. You have probably seen these jelly blobs attached to sticks in the water, pier supports, and even rocks. The zooid is a simple animal usually round with a single opening that serves both as a mouth and an anus. Now that is certainly a unique feature in itself. These zoids can also create completely new colonies asexually

According to biologists, Zooids only have a central nerve ganglion that allows the animal to respond to stimuli. They feed using small tiny ciliated (hair-like) tentacles that surround the opening and push food through it into the gut. In some species, and during certain life periods, these tentacles can be used for simple movement. Most species, however, spend the majority or all of their lifespan immobile.

The jelly blob is a gel-filled mass with colonies of bryozoans on the outer surface. These blobs can even be larger than a football,

Are the bryozoan blobs hazardous like maybe poison ivy? Not rally. The presence of these small creatures indicates the body of water they reside in has a good ecology. So don’t worry about getting warts if you touch a jelly blob. However, the bryozoans may pose a minimal threat, as a floating ball, of clogging water intakes and filters such as those used by lakeside homeowners to pump water from the reservoir for lawn sprinkler systems.

Biologists also say some of the 50 freshwater species might be toxic to fish though the odds are small.

So now you can challenge your fishing buddy to explain what that “jelly thing” is that is attached to a stick in the water and prove your intellectual prowess.

















challenge your fishing buddy to identify what that jelly blob is that’s attached to that stick in the water.

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