Snakehead Threat; Invasive Fish Species

One of the ways that the balance in an ecosystem is disrupted is when a new species that is not native to the area is introduced. Many times these new species can feed on and attack the native wildlife, plant or sea life. When this happens the entire system is disrupted and it can be hard to get back in balance. One of these species that has made its way to the United States and started to wreak havoc is the Snakehead. This is not a snake but a fish. The Snakehead has several different species that are in the same family and each one has several things in common. The biggest thing is that the snakehead is an aggressive fish and has taken over a pond in Maryland and has been deemed a threat to other areas as well.

The snakehead has a few very specific identifying features that can help. One of them is the reason that is has the unusual name. The moniker snakehead is given to this fish for two main reasons. The head of the fish has no bone structure in the lower jaw and the shape of the head mimics that of a snake. The other attribute is that this fish has the ability to cross dryland in search of more water. They use their back fins and will wiggle across the land for a short span. They are able to do this due to their enlarged gills that allow them to gulp a large amount of air. This makes it so that they need very little oxygen in and out of the water to survive. The snakehead is mainly found in Africa and Southern Asia but has been introduced into the United States.

They are an aggressive species of fish and will attack other fish and wildlife that is in the area they are living in. Snakeheads can also get aggressive when they feel that their nest has been invaded which can lead to a bite on a human. The area they are not native to will likely not have a natural predator so that can lead to the species being overrun and can cause some damage to that ecosystem.

The fish has been such a problem in the area of Maryland that the Department of Natural Resources introduced an alert to try and stop any more of these fish being introduced in other water ways. The National news picked up the story and that has alerted more people to this species as well as the dangers of introducing other species to nonnative areas.

No snakeheads have been found in Texas waters to date, but the threat exists. Texas Heritage Protection wants everyone to watch out for this dangerous species in the water ways around the great state of Texas.