Snakeheads Redux


Via Swamp City comes this Wash Post article about the return of the fugliest fish (and that's saying something) in the East, the snakehead. It's an "invasive species" that sees what it wants--and eats it.

The northern snakehead is native to China and Korea and is prized as a food in several Asian countries. It is imported to the United States for sale in some fish markets and as an aquarium fish.

If it is released in a pond or lake in this area, experts say, the snakehead is instantly at the top of the food chain: It can grow as large as 47 inches long and weigh 15 pounds. The fish can clean out a pond of native fish, officials said, and it also eats insects -- probably including this year's expected bumper crop of cicadas.

(Btw, isn't the cicada meme a sign of relative prosperity and peace? Twenty-five years ago, we were worried about killer bees and Biblical end games in the Middle East [go read The Late Great Planet Earth]. Now, even in the midst of a religious war being waged on Christendom and with Jesus Christ pulling John Wayne box office in the movies, a plague of locusts is being played exclusively for punch lines.)

When the snakehead first sunk its gnarly teeth into our collective consciousness in 2002, Reason's Jesse Walker proffered the ultimate solution to the mess. Read about it here. BYO hot sauce. (Jesse's suggestion even worked its way into a Mallard Fillmore comic strip. Deal with that, Dr. Morgentaler!)

And back when the terrifying "non-native" species threat of the day was the (relatively) cute zebra mussel, Reason's Ronald Bailey stuck up for lowest-status immigrants among the animal kingdom in "Bio-Invaders."