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Great Lakes Article:


'Frankenfish' invader found in Lake Michigan
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 "Frankenfish."

"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 snakeheads.

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.

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