Northern Snakehead Fish

Open mouth, showing sharp teeth

northern snakehead, 
Channa argus

Northern Snakehead Fish

Northern Snakehead Map
Image by USGS

Map by USGS on HUC level record of northern snakehead fish in the United States

Northern Snakehead Fish

The Northern snakehead fish (Channa argus) is native to China, Russia and Korea. Snakeheads are highly invasive and have the potential to disrupt recreational and commercial fishing, harm native fish and wildlife, and impact our economy.  Northern snakeheads are top predators capable of growing to at least three feet long and surviving throughout the continental US in a variety of habitats. They feed voraciously and spawn multiple times each year.  When oxygen is insufficient to support most of our native fish, snakeheads can breathe air and they may survive for days out of water in damp conditions. Young fish can move across the ground to access water.  New York State prohibits possession, sale and live transport of snakehead fish (genus Channa and Parachanna) and their viable eggs. Importation and interstate transport of snakeheads is prohibited under federal Lacey Act  [from the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation].


Northern Snakehead Fish on the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation website covers identification of the species and what you should do when you catch one. 

Channa argus from the US Geological Survey Nonindigenous Aquatic Species website covers identification, nonindigenous occurrences, ecology, and management of the species. 

Northern Snakehead from the USDA National Invasive Species Information Center website provides a profile on the species.

Last updated July 26, 2019