Thursday, March 12, 2009

Northern snakehead

goal for the week 13hrs
work on the figure with the Anubis mask


The northern snakehead (Channa argus) is a predatory freshwater fish from Russia, China, and Korea. It is also invasive in the Potomac area in the United States. Initially, when this snakehead was found to have a breeding population in Crofton pond of Maryland in 2002 there was quite a scare about them in the United States. The snakeheads had come from a local man who had been planning to make soup out of them for his sick sister, she recovered before the fish arrived so he kept them in an aquarium for a while and then released them in them in the pond. Biologists were concerned as it is a predatory fish that could outcompete the top level predatory fish of the area,  introduce diseases, and that it would be damaging to populations of prey fish and other small aquatic animals in the area. The northern snakehead also has the ability to breathe air with a special suprabranchial organ, this can allow it to survive out of the water for up to four days, longer if buried. It was worried that the fishes ability to survive out of water might allow it to spread to new areas more quickly. In the case of the population in Crofton pond it there was concern that the snakehead might spread to the Little Patuxent River which was only 75 feet away. They ended up poisoning Crofton Pond to kill off the snakeheads.   The snakehead scare got a lot of media attention and it was even suggested that snakehead can attack people. In the aftermath a few horror movies were made about northern snakeheads (mutant or otherwise) based on the incident, examples include Snakehead Terror, Swarm of the Snakehead, and Frankenfish.

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