Saturday, December 12, 2009

Snakeheads in the United States

I was prompted to was the special on the National Geographic Channel about Snakehead Fish in the United States. If you've visited Mizlan's blog (Dark Art Caster) you know he is a Snakehead diehard. Here is my "book report", if you will, on the story. Mighty scary.

The Northern Snakehead (Channa Agrus) was first discovered in May 2002 in a pond behind a shopping mall in the State of Maryland. A man fishing caught one and didn’t know what it was, so he took a picture and sent it to the Maryland Wildlife Commission. They in turn sent it to a Biologist in Florida who did the identification.
In June 2002 a 24” one was caught in the same pond. In September 2002 the pond was poisoned to kill all the Snakeheads and 1200 were found with 6 being adults.
Two years later Snakeheads were found in 5 different locations in the Potomac River in Virginia. They’ve also been found in the States of New York and California. In June 2007 Snakeheads were found in the Potomac as far North as Washington DC. DNA shows they are all the same species.
Biologist concerns are:
Snakeheads have a lung above the gills and can breath air which allows them to live out of water for 3 days, making it easy for them to move from water to water.
An adult female can deposit 15,000 eggs at one time and can lay eggs 5 times a year totaling 75,000 eggs per year.
Since then, the Giant Snakehead (Channa micropeltes) has been found in the US and can grow up to 5 feet in length. Biologists concern with this species is they are very aggressive and will attach anything in their way. Snakehead Expert Jean-Francois Helias has sent a sample of a giant Snakehead from Thailand to the US and confirmed the ones in the US are the same species as those in Thailand.
How have they gotten here? A Korean Market in Los Angeles was busted for illegally importing Snakeheads from Thailand for their customers. This was several years after the ban on importing Snakeheads was put in place.
But what about the original ones, in the pond in Maryland? A Chinese American Gentleman saw the article and said he had purchased two in 2002 for a medicinal soup for his Sister who was ill. She recovered , but to give more good fortune to her, he released them into the same pond where they were discovered in 2002 and the 1200 in September 2002. Fast reproducers.
I did a search on the web using Northern Snakehead, looking for a picture. I got 194,000 hits. If you want to learn more about this invasive fish, jump out there and take a look. Might scare you. You might also do a search on the Giant Snakehead. I got 39,300 hits on that one. Might scare you more.
As the little girl in Poltergeist said, “There heeeeeeere”.

If you really want to get into Snakeheads, you should look up the following movies.
Swarm of the Snakehead
Snakehead Terror
But, don't forget the popcorn and maybe a barf bag. The movies are pretty bad.

Till the next adventure.


1 comment:

  1. sadly i miss that the National Geographic Channel about Snakehead Fish in the United States , because i have job to do...the fact about snakehead so interesting, it true the snakehead can live out of water for long time .At my place snakehead is native fish that why if i cought snakehead i released back..but not at United will be top of food chain . If you come to Malaysia please tell me..i will take you hunt snakehead with me