HAYDEN LAKE, Idaho (AP) — The jellyfish-like blobs that have turned up in Hayden Lake and other northern Idaho waters this year might be a little disconcerting, but they aren't anything to worry about.

That's what Idaho Department of Agricultural officials have to say about the gelatinous colonies of microscopic animals that group together like coral — and which appear to be proliferating in the region this year.

The Spokesman-Review reports that residents of Hayden Lake sometimes see these bryozoans (bri-a-zoh-ans) free-floating in the water, where they take on the appearance some say is akin to alien life forms. Really, though, they're just part of the varied chain of life that teems below the surface of the water. Far from harmful, these blobs suck up algae and decaying organic material. That benefits water quality.