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Poor water conditions drive invasive snake heads ashore

  Poor water conditions drive invasive snake heads ashore
Snake head side. Picture credits: Noah Bressman

The largest fish that migrates ashore, the insatiable northern snakehead, will flee to sour, salty, or carbon dioxide-rich water ̵

1; important information for the future management of this invasive species.

Snake heads eat native species of fish, frogs and crabs and destroy the food web in some habitats. You can survive up to 20 hours ashore if the conditions are wet.

Wake Forest researcher Noah Bressman reported for the first time on the water conditions that could drive snake heads ashore in a new study published in the journal Integrative Organismal Biology on October 21 ,

Earlier this month, wildlife resource officials in Georgia advised anglers to kill the fish immediately after being caught in a pond in Gwinnett County, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission confirmed this

Bressman also observed how the Moving fish in a way that no other amphibious fish can do: it makes nearly simultaneous rudder movements with its pectoral fins moving its axial fin back and forth. These combined movements could help the snake head move over uneven surfaces like grass.

"Snakeheads are moving faster and more unpredictable than previously thought," said Bressman, Ph.D. Candidate and corresponding author of Emersion and terrestrial locomotion of the northern serpent head on several substrates. "The fish we studied moved very quickly on rough surfaces like grass, and we think they use their pectoral fins to push off these three-dimensional surfaces." in 2002 in a Maryland pond. Since then, fish have been discovered in the Potomac River, Florida, New York, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, California, and North Carolina.

Bressman studied snakehead populations in Maryland, where the fish is considered a threat to the watershed of Chesapeake Bay. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources collected snakeheads by electrofishing in tributaries of the Potomac River and adjacent drainage ditches. The fish, which were about 1 inch to 27 inches in size, were exposed to poor water conditions, including high salinity, high acidity, stagnation, overfilling, high temperatures, pollution and low light salinity and acid, and stagnant water with too much carbon dioxide.

Although it is unclear how often serpent heads voluntarily leave the water and go over land to invade other waters, these results can shed light on how the natural resource agencies plan to contain the fish.

"When snake heads were discovered on land, it caused great fear because not much was known about them," he said. "Sure, they can move quite fast on land and they have sharp teeth, but you can easily escape them and they will not hurt you, your children or your pets."

"But a better understanding of how amphibious you can be help us to better manage your population.

Bressman's current research focuses on invasive Laufwels in Florida.

Further information:
NR Bressman et al., Emersion and terrestrial locomotion of the Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) on several substrates, Integrative Organismal Biology (2019). DOI: 10.1093 / iob / obz026

Provided by
Wake Forest University

Quote :
Poor water conditions drive invasive snake heads ashore (2019, 23 October)
retrieved on October 23, 2019
from https://phys.org/news/2019-10-poor-conditions-invasive-snakeheads.html

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