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Norther Snakehead ( Channa argus )

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DESCRIPTION: The north snakehead has actually a long, thin body that can thrive to 47 inches and 15 pounds. It has a somewhat flattened head v eyes located in a dorsolateral place on the anterior component of the head; tubular anterior nostrils; elongated dorsal and also anal fins; and also a truncated tail. As the surname implies, the scaled head the the fish looks prefer a snake and includes a large mouth with sharp teeth and also protruding lower jaws. Snakehead readjust color as they mature; younger fish may be gold-tinted brown come pale gray in color, if older fish are usually dark brown with large black blotches. North snakeheads look comparable to the aboriginal burbot and bowfin. The burbot deserve to be differentiated from the north snakehead through a break-up dorsal fin, and also a solitary barbell on the reduced jaw. The bowfin can be identified by a rounded tail, no scales on the head, and an eyespot near the tail in males.

PATHWAYS/HISTORY: The north snakehead is native to locations of China, Russia, and Korea. In the unified States, the snakehead was first discovered in 1977 within Silverwood Lake, California. In 2002, this species was uncovered in a pond in Crofton, Maryland. This populace was eradicated through state biologists using chemical treatments. Regardless of these efforts, in 2004 the was evidenced that snakeheads had end up being established in the potomac River. The north snakehead has additionally been report in Florida, wherein it might be established. Specimens have been collected from a lake in ~ a new York park; two ponds external Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; a pond in Massachusetts; and also reservoirs in California and North Carolina. In 2008, the north snakehead was found in drainage ditches in Arkansas, as a an outcome of a commercial fish farming accident. It is fear that current flooding enabled the species to spread right into the nearby White River, i m sorry would enable for the eventual populace of the fish in the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers.

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Before their threat was totally appreciated, live snakeheads were openly offered in the United claims in pets shops and live fish markets. This fish is famous in the oriental food market and most introductions were most likely released because that this purpose. Uninformed pet owners may have additionally released snakeheads right into the wild once they prospered too large for aquarium tanks, or as part of spiritual or social practices. In 2002, the import and also interstate carry of the north snakehead was banned there is no a permit from the U.S. Fish and also Wildlife Service.

RISKS/IMPACTS: The impact northern snakeheads will have on U.S. Waters is mostly unknown. Like most other invasive species, this predatory fish complete with native types for food and habitat. Juveniles feed on zooplankton, insect larvae, small crustaceans, and the fried food of other fish. Together adults, they become voracious predators, feeding on various other fish, crustaceans, frogs, small reptiles, and even birds and also mammals. Snakeheads have the capability to breathe air by making use of an air bladder that works as a primitive lung, enabling them to make it through for increase to four days the end of the water; they deserve to survive for also longer durations of time burrowed in the sediment. This distinctive adaptation and their ability to take trip over land to new bodies that water by wiggling their bodies over the ground, gives the snakehead a competitive sheet over various other fishes in securing habitat and also expanding the range.

MANAGEMENT: The potential regulate methods for a snakehead infestation space limited, yet vary through each specific infestation site. Physical removal the the fish using nets, traps, angling, electrofishing or biological control by advent of predators space not likely to be successful for huge infestations. If the infestation is believed to be restricted to a couple of individuals the above techniques might be effective in remove the target organisms. However, also with a couple of individuals, it may be daunting to determine if the eradication to be 100% successful. If the infestation is in ~ an impoundment with water level control capability, removing every water may be a viable regulate technique. However, a water drawdown effort would result in damage to countless desirable plant and fish species. An effort could be made to capture and relocate preferable species, yet this would be an high value and an extensive undertaking. Impoundments that are spring fed may be daunting to keep dry and the snakeheads might survive in the moist bottom sediments if any water is allowed to remain. Rotenone can be used to eradicate north snakeheads native lakes and ponds; however, this chemistry is not a selective piscicide and also is effective versus nearly all species of fish, native and non-native. The major drawback the treating through rotenone is the ns of native fish types along through the target species. Endangered types within a waterbody may be impacted by this technique. However, every fish types may be affected by the development of northern snakeheads. In countless cases, rotenone might be the just option to eradicate the populace and ensure this fish do not spread out to various other waterbodies.

WHAT YOU deserve to DO: Learn how to identify the north snakehead. Your help is vital to report brand-new sightings and to stop their spread. Early detection of isolated populations may aid slow or limit the spread out of the snakehead. If you find a snakehead fish, death it and put it on ice, then call your state’s department of natural Resources. General aquatic nuisance types prevention: do not relax aquarium pets or live food right into the environment. Never ever dump live fish, e.g. Baitbuckets, native one body of water into one more body of water.

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Always drain water from your boat, livewell, and bilge before leaving any type of water access.

PROFILE CREDIT: Susan Pasko, NOAA and Anne Marie Eich, USbuzzpatterson.com - image CREDIT: USGS