INVASIVE SPECIES: What of the Snakehead?

Dead Snakehead

Singlebarbed posted on snakeheads finding their way into English waters. I wrote this response, twice, yet somehow managed to pull off leaving a blank comment box on his site. Twice. So here’s my comment:

“The critics were quite nasty about the newcomers, variously described as scaly, voracious, monstrous and homely. They stole food from natives. They had sharp teeth. They ate their young…”

A description of the introduction of brown trout to U.S. waters in 1883.

Also, “It has displaced resident trout from the small rivers and lakes of Montana, Colorado, New Mexico and other mountain states. The brook trout’s main victim is the cutthroat, so called for the bright slash of crimson under its jaw. Squeezed on one side by invasive brook trout, native cutthroats are also under challenge from rainbow trout…”

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/10025006.html

Carp introduced in the U.S. in 1877…

Striped Bass introduced in the Sacramento Delta in 1879…

Peacock Bass introduced in Florida in 1984…

Not saying that snakeheads are a good thing, but they’re far from the worst invasive species case (see Lake Davis). And they’re not as horrific as the sensationalist reporting in the media portends:

http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Publications/ZooGoer/2004/2/snakehead.cfm

Anecdotally, from first hand experience down in Florida, snakeheads don’t seem to be the voracious uber predators they are made out to be. They’re actually pretty wary. And in the waters I’ve fished, the largemouth bass still outnumber them by far, despite the snakeheads having a few years to establish a population and supposedly decimate everything.

You’re still supposed to kill them when you catch them…

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