May 31, 2013

Snakehead Fish

Snakehead fish are freakishly strong, hungry, air-breathing fish that can survive for short periods of time on land. So far, they've surfaced in waters from Massachusetts to California, and from Manhattan's Central Park to a pair of creeks in Arkansas. The biggest cluster is in and around the Chesapeake Bay.
Snakehead fish, photo courtesy of Brian Gratwicke

Native to China's Yangtze River basin, the so-called "frankenfish" made its first big media splash in the United States in 2002, when a thriving population was discovered in a Maryland pond outside Washington. The snakeheads are members of the freshwater perciform fish family Channidae, native to Africa and Asia. These elongated, predatory fish are distinguished by a long dorsal fin, large mouth and shiny teeth. The snakehead fish is considered an invasive species in the United States.