Friday, January 13, 2006

Walking in Memphis?

The AP (via ABC News) is reporting that a snakehead (Channa sp.) was found last month in a lake in Memphis, Tennessee. The fish, which was discovered in Shelby Forest State Park, was 17 inches long...and dead. Concerned that other, living specimens may be present, wildlife officials are planning a fish count to assess the situation. If more snakeheads are found there is a chance the lake, a popular year-round fishing site, may be drained. This is the first record of a snakehead found in the wild in Tennessee, and brings the total number of U.S. states where this species has been found outside of captivity to ten.

Update 01/17: According to this record from the USGS Non-Indigenous Aquatic Species Alert System, the fish was originally misidentified as a northern snakehead (Channa argus) and has now been identified as a giant snakehead (Channa micropeltes). Giant snakehead is a tropical species and is not thought to pose the same risk of invading temperate bodies of water as the northern snakehead.

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