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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

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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:

  • Injurious Wildlife
    DOI. FWS. Fish and Aquatic Conservation.
    Includes species 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.



Selected Resources:

Council or Task Force

Species of Concern Fact Sheet: Northern Snakehead
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.

Priority Species: Northern Snakehead
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.


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

NEANS Panel Online Guide - Northern Snakehead
Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Texas Invasives Database - Channa argus

The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Species of the Galveston Bay Area - Snakehead, all species
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Galveston Bay Estuary Program; Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).

Invasive Species Compendium - Channa argus argus
CAB International.

Global Invasive Species Database - Channa argus (fish)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Invaders Factsheet: Northern Snakehead
Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program (Canada).

Federal Government

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. Wetland and Aquatic Research Center.
U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1251; Researched and funded by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database: Fact Sheet - Northern Snakehead
DOI. USGS. Wetland and Aquatic Research Center.
Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).

State Government

Aquatic Invasive Species: Snakehead (Mar 2005; PDF | 201 KB)
Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
See also: Invasive Species for exotic animal and plant pests invading Indiana, causing economic and visual damage

Northern Snakehead
Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Fisheries Service.

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.

Northern Snakehead
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.


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

Fact Sheet: 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.

Invasive Species Fact Sheets - Northern Snakehead
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.


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

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Fact Sheet - Northern Snakehead. USGS, Gainesville, FL. [Accessed Sep 16, 2014].

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Last Modified: Apr 13, 2017
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