Channa Argus

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by haleyroberts5
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Channa Argus

 Compete with native species for food and habitat Only eat other fish (same as largemouth bass diet- could threaten their existence if population exceeds and thrives in the Potomac) Has attacked humans before (please view YouTube video for specific case) Chemicals used to eradicate population kill non target fish as well (piscicides such as rotenone are in pace to control the population and can be bought at any local fish markets)

The Invasion:

1997: Silverwood Lake, California 2000: Lake Henry, Florida 2001: Massachusetts 2002: pond in Crofton, Maryland --- An established population was discovered and then eradicated by the state using rotenone (piscicide) : Lake Wylie, North Carolina2004: Lake Michigan, downtown Chicago, Illinois : Massachusetts : Pennsylvania : Virginia2005: Meadow Lake in Queens, New York2007: South Fork Catawba River, North Carolina2008: Wawayanda, New York --- An eradication attempt was made2009: Deleware River, New Jersey

 A long, thin fish  Single dorsal fin running entire length  Primitive lung (breath and conserve oxygen outside of water) Color is brown with dark blotches (snakeskin) Flattened head Fully grown average 3 ft in length

Laws in Effect:

The Damage:

WANTED:Channa Argus



Origin: Native Range is China, Russia and KoreaLower Amur River Basin: Ussuri River basin,Khanka Lake, Sungari River in Manchuria, Tungushka River at Khaborovsk

• Lacey Act 2002-- Importation / cross border transportation is prohibited • Illegal to sell or posses

As the timeline shows, the population of the snakehead fish has increased dramatically along eastern coastlines. While people believed that the spike in population originated from the Crofton pond in Maryland, genetic evidence has shown otherwise (Starnes et al. 2011). Currently, the majority of these fish have established a population in Virginia moving throughout the Potomac River (Starnes et al. 2011).

 Capable of surviving in low level oxygenated waters Prefers shallow waters with mud (could explain why Virginia is most populous) Can adapt to various aquatic environments  Survive up to 4 days on land Temperature tolerance spans from 0 to over 30 degrees Celsius (could explain why Virginia is most populous) Ability to reduce metabolism and oxygen level if covered in ice (Could explain why population thrives) Salinity tolerance is between 15-18ppt April-August best thriving months for breeding

Northern Snakehead

Despite these laws being in affect, people have still proceeded to transport and hold these vicious fish. Since they thrive with cold winters and have various abilities that enable them to survive out of water, in the cold, or even in highly salinized waters there is no way to tell what the future may hold. Even if the population stays in within Virginia, they could breed with other fish and create an entirely new species, or if over populated could wipe out the resources for the native species; therefore sending native fish towards extinction.

Theories behind the Introduction:  Great Lakes Unauthorized intentional release (from aquariums/food markets) Illegal dumping of pets  Ethnic markets and restaurants


Abdel-Fattah, S. 2011. Aquatic invasive species early detection and rapid response—Assessment of chemical response tools. Report prepared for the International Joint Commission, Great Lakes Regional Office, 19 March 2015Aladin, N., I. Plotnikov, T. Ballatore, and P. Micklin. 2008. Biodiversity loss in a saline lake ecosystem. Effects of introduced species and salinization in the Aral Sea. Japan International Cooperation Agency: Study Reports: Country and Regional Study Reports: Central Asia and Caucasus. Volume 4.Courtenay, W. R., Jr., and J. D. Williams. 2004. Snakeheads (Pisces: Channidae) -- A biological synopsis and risk assessment. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1251, 143 p.Flarherty, M. 2008. New York State Department of Environmental of Conservation. Personal communication.Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species (GLPANS). 2008. Prohibited species in the Great Lakes Region. Report November 2008.Holt, L. 2009. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Personal communication.Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG). 2011. Sea Grant Database of Aquatic Species Regulations. Available Accessed 19 March 2015Landis, A.M.G., and N.W.R. Lapointe. 2010. First record of a northern snakehead (Channa argus Cantor) nest in North America. Northeastern Naturalist 17(2): 325-332.Landis, A.M., N.W.R. Lapointe, and P.L. Angermeier. 2011. Individual growth and reproductive behavior in a newly established population of northern snakehead (Channa argus), Potomac River, USA. Hydrobiologia 661: 123-131.Lee, C.E. 2002. Evolutionary genetics of invasive species. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17: 386-391.Northern Snakehead Working Group (NSWG). 2006. National control and management plan for the northern snakehead (Channa argus). Department of the Interior, unpublished manuscript. Available Accessed: 19 March 2015Odenkirk, J. and S. Owens. 2005. Northern snakeheads in the tidal Potomac River system. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 134: 1605-1609.Okada, Y. 1960. Studies of the freshwater fishes of Japan, II, Special part. Journal of the Faculty of Fisheries Prefectural University of Mie 4: 31-860.Petr, T. and Mitrofanov, V.P. 1998. The impact on fish stocks of river regulation in Central Asia and Kazakhstan. Lakes & Reservoirs: Research and Management 3: 143-164.Sanders, N.J. 2010. Population-level traits that affect, and do not affect, invasion success. Molecular Ecology 19: 1079-1081.Saylor, R.K., N.W.R. Lapointe, and P.L. Angermeier. 2012. Diet of non-native northern snakehead (Channa argus) compared to three co-occurring predators in the lower Potomac River, USA. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 21:443-452.Starnes, W.C., J. Odenkirk, and M.J. Ashton. 2011. Update and analysis of fish occurrences in the lower Potomac River drainage in the vicinity of Plummers Island, Maryland—Contribution XXXI to the natural history of Plummers Island, Maryland. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 124(4):280-309.U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). 2011. Northern snakehead. Available Accessed: 19 March 2015


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