Green Jelly Blob

Ophrydium versatile in Pinkham Notch's Beaver Pond
Photo credit: Emily Hey
Stand on the Lost Pond trail's bog bridge near Route 16 and look into the pond. What is that green jelly blob travelling lazily downstream in October? Eggs from a confused salamander? a water-logged green pepper? a bryozoan?  It looks like all three. Turns out this green jelly blob is a eukaryotic single-celled ciliate, a member of the Protoctista kingdom (protos, very first; ktistos, to establish).  It is not a plant, not a fungus, not an animal, but a single-celled organism that forms the green jelly blob you see here.

This particular protoctista is the Ophrydium versatile.  The gelatinous colony formed by the ciliate is found floating freely or attached to aquatic plants in acidic bogs where light is available.  We have yet to find a good answer as to why these colonies are formed.

Have you seen one?  What do you know about the green jelly blob?  Write us at amcpnvcnat@outdoors.org with your questions and/or insights.