Office of Coastal Management, and she was good enough to tip me to the jellies' location. Apparently a local contractor - possibly the operator of that dredge - had seen hundreds if not thousands a few days prior. I was keen to make the scene, having long wanted to see one of these aquatic curiosities.
Thanks to the intrepid Jess Henning of Erie County Metrparks, I was able not only see one of the jellyfish, but photograph one as well. Jess boated out into the river with her one-man canoe, and after a bit of searching located several jellies and managed to scoop one up. After caging the jellie in a suitable container, it was off to the center at Osborn Park to transfer the animal to an aquarium and attempt photos. I can tell you these are not easy creatures to shoot. One, they are under water. Two, a jellyfish is basically an amorphous translucent bag. And three, they move with constant pulsations of their filmy bell-jar covering. But I tried...
Cool as it would be to have native jellyfish, that's not the case. The Freshwater Jellyfish hails from China, as do so many of our invasive species. I'm not sure that the jellies are best considered "invasive", though. There doesn't seem to be any evidence that they displace or detrimentally impact native species. As far as I know, the jellies are just aquatic curiosities.
From their native range in the Yangtze River of China, the Freshwater Jelly has spread to far-flung reaches of the globe. It apparently first turned up in 1908 in the United States, and was found in the Huron River in Michigan in 1933. New locales are constantly added. It doesn't seem that anyone knows for sure how they are transported to new water bodies, although it is likely they first entered North America and the Great Lakes via ballast water in ocean-going freighters, as have a number of other nonnative species.
Well, there you go. Freshwater Jellyfish, in Ohio. I don't want to ever say I've seen it all, but I'm getting closer.