Snakehead Fish Are Spreading

Species is spawning Chesapeake Tributaries

Outdoor Life Online Editor

The northern snakehead, a ferocious looking fish that can travel for brief periods on land, might have become a permanent fixture in Washington, D.C.-area waters according to Maryland fisheries biologists. Eight of the Asian-native fish have been found, including one in a Potomac tributary this week since they were discovered in a Maryland pond during 2002. Another fish caught last week, a 3-year-old, was ready to spawn, carrying thousands of eggs.

Because of their razor-sharp teeth and aggressive attitude, snakeheads are able to protect and raise many of their young, unlike other fish species. Still, a Virginia biologist told The Washington Times that he does not believe the snakehead will overtake the ecosystem. Instead, he thinks the fish will compete with species at the bottom of the food chain, gradually changing the fish populations.

The fish are originally from China and Korea, but were imported for food and to be put on display at aquariums. Snakeheads can grow to 15 pounds.