Northern Snakehead Fish ( Channa argus ) Some History Native to Africa and Asia. First discovered in Maryland in 2002. Introduction Experts believe that some entered U.S. waters via releases by aquarium owners.
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Native to Africa and Asia.
First discovered in Maryland in 2002.
They can travel across land and live out of water for up to three days as long as their body is wet.
Out of the water Snakeheads rhythmically move their fins and muscular bodies back and forth. The fish equivalent of walking.
They have a physiological need to breathe atmospheric air, if they DO NOT get this air they will DIE.
Snakeheads can breathe air unlike other fish as they use a primitive lung above their gills -air chambers. Which is called a suprabranchial organ.
Many snakeheads clear plants & then build a simple circular nest at the water surface.
The male encircles the female, squeezes out her eggs, & fertilizes, or placed sperm on, them.
The eggs float upward into the nest, which the parents guard.
After hatching, the young are cared for by either parent, depending on species.
In two species the male keeps the fertilized eggs & later the young in his mouth for a few days.
Snakeheads are active during the day.
The hunt by ambush.
Adults hunt alone, but young hunt in schools.
Sometimes snakeheads jump from water surface to grasp their prey.
During all life stages, snakeheads compete with native species for food and habitat.
As juveniles, they eat zooplankton, insect larvae, small crustaceans, and the young of other fishes.
As adults, they become voracious predators, feeding on other fishes, crustaceans, frogs, small reptiles, and sometimes birds and small mammals.
Should snakeheads become established in North American ecosystems, their predatory behavior could drastically disrupt food webs and ecological conditions, thus forever changing native aquatic systems by modifying the array of native species.
(Night of the Snakehead)
(Swarm of the Snakehead)