Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Battling the Northern Snakehead Invasion

The northern snakehead, a predatory and potentially invasive fish native to China and Siberia, has recently been introduced in the Potomac River. The species is rapidly reproducing and expanding its range, causing concern among fisheries agencies. The fisheries and wildlife sciences department in the College of Natural Resources developed studies to analyze how this species has reacted to North American ecosystems; researchers also evaluated how northern snakeheads have impacted the Potomac River and surrounding areas. Over the past year, data have been collected on northern snakehead dispersal ability, movement, home range size, habitat use, diet and feeding, and spawning behavior. Researchers at the college will also combine telemetry and electrofishing data to provide an estimate of population size for particular areas. A web site is being developed to outline the results of this research.

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