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Girl Scouts find little jellyfish in Idaho pond

Girl Scouts boning up on their underwater diving skills made what could be a rare biological find, scooping up several unusual jellyfish from a pond along the Boise River Greenbelt.

"The Girl Scout troop was learning to scuba dive in the Bob Rice pond, and one of them found a 1-inch, glass-clear jellyfish," LeRoy Headlee, who runs the nonprofit Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation, said Friday."They took it to Boise State, and to Fish and Game, and, finally, Fish and Game called me," Headlee said. "And . . . it was a jellyfish. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it was in fresh water."

The Scouts are from Troop 343 in West Boise.

"It's pretty exciting for all of us," Deni Davis, one of the troop leaders, said.

The Scouts then went back to the pond, formally known as Quinn's Pond and owned by the city of Boise, and caught several more, which they took to the lab that Headlee runs with his wife, Sally Jo Peters.

After meeting with Will Reid, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's fish program coordinator, Headlee said he believes the tiny creatures are Craspedacusta sower-byi, endemic to English quarries that have filled with fresh water. Quinn's Pond once was a quarry.

"It's only been discovered east of the Mississippi 13 times in the past 70 years," Headlee said. "And here's this guy who's been pulling plankton nets out of the pond for years, and he's never seen anything like it."

Several of the jellyfish were bobbing in three aquariums at Headlee's lab on Friday. Some did not survive the first attempts to put them in aquariums, as Headlee had to figure out how to keep bubbles to a minimum to avoid disrupting them.

The jellyfish are being fed brine shrimp.

"It's predatory and a little poisonous, the same family as the man-of-war," Headlee said.