Almost as scary as Frankenstein’s Monster, northern snakehead are an invasive, predatory fish species native to Asia. Dubbed the “frankenfish,” northern snakehead can breathe air and survive for days out of water. Once established, these voracious predators have the potential to wreak havoc on an aquatic ecosystem: out-competing top predators, throwing off the balance of native fish communities, and more.
When it comes to identifying northern snakehead, they’re commonly confused with bowfin and burbot, which are both native to New York. They are long, thin fish with a flattened head and a single dorsal (top) fin running the length of its back. They also tend to have a more pronounced blotchy pattern along their sides. Bowfin can most easily be distinguished from northern snakehead by a shorter anal fin and a rounded tail fin, while burbot have two dorsal fins and a single chin barbel.
Federal and state regulations strictly prohibit the possession, sale, and transport of snakeheads in the state.
How you can help:
- Do not dump aquarium contents in any waterbodies, drainage ditches, or sewers.
- Use certified bait that is non-invasive and disease free.
- Learn how to identify northern snakehead and report any encounters.
- If you believe you have caught a northern snakehead
- DO NOT RELEASE IT.
- Take several photos of it from different angles, including the fins, and freeze it, then:
- send us an email noting where it was caught (coordinates preferred);
- submit a report through iMapinvasives; or
- contact your local Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management.