CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia has lots of beautiful wildlife, but did you know that includes jellyfish?
According to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), West Virginia is one of many landlocked states that have freshwater jellyfish in their lakes and rivers. Freshwater jellyfish are not commonly seen in West Virginia because they are almost completely transparent and tiny, only about 5 to 25 millimeters, which is about the size of a nickel.
West Virginians are most likely to see them in the later summer to early fall, according to the WVDNR. If you do see one, don’t panic; there are no reported cases of freshwater jellyfish stinging humans, according to the Indiana DNR.
Originally from China where it is called the peach blossom fish, freshwater jellyfish are believed to have been brought to the United States accidentally with China-native plants. They have been confirmed in 44 states.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has records of where in the U.S. freshwater jellyfish have been confirmed. In West Virginia, they have been confirmed in 26 counties.
- Lake Wood Acres – Hedgesville (2003)
- Rock Quarry – Martinsburg (2005)
- Sutton Lake (1999, 2003, 2013)
- Mud River Dam (1999)
- Ohio River (1999)
- Private pond – Arnaldsburg (1999)
- Plum Orchard Lake (1999)
- Mount Storm Lake (1999)
- Stony River Reservoir (2003)
- Tuckahoe Lake – White Sulfer Springs (1999)
- Rockcliff Lake (1999)
- Buffalo Creek Reservoir – West Milford (1999)
- Lake Floyd (2003, 2005)
- Frozencamp Creek – Ripley (1999)
- Sand Creek – Ravenswood (2005)
- Woodrum Lake – Kenna (2003)
- Stonewall Jackson Lake – Canoe Run and Carrion run (1999)
- Stonewall Jackson Lake – West Fork River (1995, 1999, 2003)
- Stonewall Jackson Lake – Walkersville (2003)
- Mud Lake – Hamlin (2003)
- Airport pond – Stollings (2005)
- Fish Creek – Graysville (1999)
- Ohio River (1978)
- Rock quarry – Athens (1999)
- Cheat Lake – Morgantown (1999)
- Monongahela River (Hildebran (1999)
- Whiteday Creek – Opekisky (2005)
- Indian Run – Cacapon State Park (2002)
- Summersville Lake (1999, 2003, 2005)
- Farm pond – St. Marys (1999)
- Chippewa Lake – Kingwood (1999)
- Lake Stephens – Beckley (1999)
- Lake Stephens – Surveyor (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005)
- Pennsboro Reservoir (2003)
- East Lynn Lake (1999)
- Little Kanawha River – Elizabeth (1999)
- Ohio River – Parkersburg (1999)
- Tygart Creek – Mineral Wells (1999)
While West Virginia hasn’t had a confirmed sighting since 2013, plenty of states, including West Virginia’s neighbors, have had recent documentation. Virginia and Pennsylvania have had confirmed freshwater jellyfish sightings as recently as 2020, Ohio as recently as 2019, and Kentucky as recently as 2016.
Massachusets and Texas have already confirmed freshwater jellyfish in 2022, and Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Washington had documentation of them as recently as 2021.