A northern snakehead fish was caught earlier this month in a Gwinnett County Pond, the first time these species were been reported in Georgia waters.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division is now trying to figure out if the fish has spread from the pond as it looks to prevent the species from reaching other bodies of water in Georgia.
The long, thin fish that looks similar to a bowfin can be harmful to wildlife because it can out compete, or later displace, other species in the water. The air-breathing fish are able to draw breath through an air ladder that’s similar to a lungs.
Their breathing ability makes it possible for them to navigate to other small areas of land and new bodies of water. The unique fish can survive up to four days out of water if it’s kept moist, and it can remain immobile, but alive, in mud during drought.
The fish can grow up to 3 feet and can weigh up to 18 pounds or more.
The splotchy-looking fish eats other fish, and it has been reported that it will also eat amphibians, crawfish and even small animals such as mice
U.S. Geological Survey says if these species succeed in establishing more populations of predatory offspring, it could alter food webs and ecological systems that could leave a permanent change to other species in water bodies.
The northern snakehead fish, a native to East Asia, used to be sold in pet stores, live-food fish markets and restaurants in some major cities until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added the species to its list of injurious wildlife.
The sharp-tooth fish was first spotted in the wild in the United States in San Bernardino County’s Silverwood Lake in California in 1997. The fish is currently reported in 14 other states.
Invasive fish like the northern snakehead are often introduced through unauthorized release.
Source : Various