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You are here: Home / Aquatic Species / Species Profiles / Northern Snakehead
Aquatic Species
Species Profiles

Northern Snakehead

Northern SnakeheadScientific name: Channa argus (ITIS)

Common name: Northern Snakehead

Click image to enlarge

Selected Resources

Native To: Eastern Asia (NAS Database)

Date of U.S. Introduction: First established population discovered in Maryland in 2002 (NAS Database)

Means of Introduction: Released from fish markets (NAS Database)

Impact: Preys on and competes with native species (NAS Database)

Current U.S. Distribution:

Federally Regulated:

  • Listed as injurious wildlife under the Federal Lacey Act, which makes it illegal in the U.S. to import, export, or transport between States without a permit
    DOI. FWS. Fish and Aquatic Conservation.



Selected Resources:


Northern Snakehead
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.


New York Invasive Species Information - Northern Snakehead Fish
New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse.

Northern Snakehead
Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Texas Invasives Database - Channa argus

Invasive Species Compendium - Channa argus argus
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Channa argus (fish)
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.


Snakehead: The Newest Aquatic Invader - Invasive Species Program (Jul 2002; PDF | 4.67 MB)
DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Recognizing Northern Snakehead (Sep 2003; PDF | 336 KB)
DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Snakeheads (Pisces, Channidae) - A Biological Synopsis and Risk Assessment (Mar 2004)
DOI. USGS. Southeast Ecological Science Center.

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database - Channa argus
DOI. USGS. Southeast Ecological Science Center.
Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).

Not Welcome in Canada: Preventing a Northern Snakehead Invasion
Fisheries and Oceans Canada.


Aquatic Invasive Species: Snakehead (PDF | 201 KB)
Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Northern Snakehead
Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Northern Snakehead Fish (Channa argus)
New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

Northern Snakehead
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

The Snakehead Threat
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Snakehead Fish Information
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Northern Snakehead
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.


Introduced Species Summary Project - Northern Snakehead
Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.

Northern Snakehead (PDF | 177 KB)
Pennsylvania State University. Pennsylvania Sea Grant.

Northern Snakehead
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation.


Northern Snakehead - Hot Topics Series
Cambridge Scientific Abstracts.

Snakehead, all species
Guide to Invasive Species of the Galveston Bay Area.

Northern Snakehead
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (Canada).


Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Channa argus. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Channa argus. USGS, Gainesville, FL. [Accessed Sep 16, 2014].

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Last Modified: Mar 20, 2015
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