Northern Snakehead

Northern Snakehead

  Fact Sheet
Scientific Name (Channa argus)
Classification and Permitting Level 1 - Prohibited Aquatic Nuisance Species
Species Description Northern snakehead is a popular aquarium species known for its aggressive behavior and is also considered a delicacy in Asian cuisine. This species can reach over 34 inches in length, has a long dorsal fin, is brown with dark blotches, and can be confused with native burbot or bowfin.
Preferred Habitat It's typically found in shallow, slow-moving water with muddy bottoms and vegetation. It breathes air, so can survive in water without oxygen and has been found in water temperatures over 100°F.
Reason for ANS Designation This ambush predator has a voracious appetite and can displace native predatory fish such as northern pike. They must breathe air, which makes them difficult to control since they can move across land to escape control efforts.
Place of origin Northern snakehead is an invasive fish that's native to China, Russia, and Korea. It was first documented in the United States in 1997. Aquarium releases and live food markets are thought to spread this species.
Stopping the Spread Never release aquarium pets or plants into the environment. Released organisms do not typically survive and those that do survive can wreak havoc on an ecosystem.
Additional Information USGS Fact Sheet
ANS Task Force Management Plan