An Invasive Species By Emily Munguia
Northern Snakehead Basic Facts
Basic Diet: Fish, such as bluegill and killfish , similar diet to largemouth bass, but largemouth eat considerably more crayfish and other species such as frogs, turtles, snakes, etc.
Size: Most range from 30-90cm (12-35 inches)
Reproduction: Females can lay as many as 15,000 eggs one to five times per year. Eggs hatch in 1 to 2 days. Larvae remain in the nest, which both parents guard. Larvae are nourished by a yolk that they absorb by the time they are less than one-third of an inch long. After that, they feed on small crustaceans and fish larvae. Young may be golden brown or pale gray, darkening as they grow older. The northern snakehead reaches sexual maturity at 2 years old.
- The first report of this species in the United States came from Silverwood Lake, California in 1997
- native to Asia and is one of 29 snakehead species. It made its national news debut in 2002, after an angler at a pond behind a strip mall in Crofton, Maryland, caught a long, skinny fish, about 18 inches from end to end
- Found in the Potomac River and several of its tributaries in Maryland and Virginia. Native to China, Russia and Korea.
- It lives in the Potomac River and its local creeks and streams.
Why is the Northern Snakehead an Invasive Species ?
- snakehead fish is a non-native air-breathing freshwater fish
- is able to breathe air from the atmosphere using an air bladder that works similar to a lung.
- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Inland Fisheries (DNR) is offering $200 gift cards for dead snakehead fish
- It is illegal for a person to import, transport or introduce a live snakehead fish or their eggs into the State of Maryland.
- Possession of the snakehead fish is illegal in some states, including Alabama, California, Florida, Texas and Washington.
- The Fish and Wildlife Services fact sheet states that the snakehead fish carries a disease called Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome.
- Myth Alert: the fish can bite through a steel-toed boot.
- In Maryland known as the "Fish from Hell"
- It can breathe air for up to three days and, therefore, can traverse over land to another body of water.
- When catching a northern snakehead, kill it and DO NOT put it back in the water. If the snakehead has a tag, measure the length, make note of the exact location of capture, and call the toll free number printed on the tag.