'Frankenfish' invader found in Lake
St. Paul Pioneer Press
Published October 14th, 2004
A northern snakehead, the invasive fish that's become
established in the Potomac River and threatens that region's
aquatic ecosystem, apparently has been netted in a Chicago
harbor of Lake Michigan.
While there's no indication other snakeheads are in the
harbor, scientists fear their potential impact on Midwestern
lakes and rivers, including those in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The fish can survive several days out of water if kept
wet and they can be impossible to eradicate. Its damage
potential is so unnerving, the creature is sometimes called
"I'm hoping, I've got my fingers crossed, that this
is the only northern snakehead in Lake Michigan,"
said Walter Courtenay Jr., a research fishery biologist
with the U.S. Geological Survey and an expert on northern
Courtenay said a fish that Matthew Philbin of Tinley
Park, Ill., said he netted in Burnham Harbor on Saturday
is definitely a northern snakehead. Philbin took several
pictures of the fish and posted the images on a local
fishing Web site to find out what it was.
Natives of China, Russia and Korea, northern snakeheads
are voracious predators that can grow to three feet long.
Two years ago, a pair was discovered in a Crofton, Md.,
pond, along with thousands of young.
This summer, anglers have caught 19 adult snakeheads
in the Potomac and its tributaries.