The story broke last summer: A land-slithering, carnivorous
fish was on the loose in Maryland. Native to Asia, the northern
snakehead made its way to a tiny Crofton pond when a local
man released fish purchased from a live seafood market.
prey on fishes, crustaceans, reptiles, and sometimes even
birds—altering the balance of native species. With such
a voracious predator, state biologists took no chances. In
September, they applied an approved pesticide and collected
over 800 snakehead specimens. The large scales on the head
are what give snakeheads their name.
At Left: Channa argus (juveniles)
These juvenile northern snakeheads were among hundreds from
the Crofton pond. Able to hibernate in mud during cold or
drought, they’re hardy enough to survive in most US
freshwaters. More specimens are on view at the Museum in the
Science in the News exhibit case.