A Northern snakehead, normally found living in the sub-tropical waters of China and Korea, was caught in Lake Michigan recently, sparking fears that the voracious predator may be breeding in the lake.
The 45cm/18" subadult Channa argus was caught by a Chicago angler, who informed the authorities about the catch. Several other Northern snakeheads have been caught around the USA this year, including a number from the Potomac River and fisheries biologists are becoming increasingly concerned about the potentially damaging effects this species could have on the US freshwater environment.
Mike Hoff of the US Fish and Wildlife Service told JS Online: "One snakehead is a problem. Reproduction is a mega-problem. It's more than just an ugly face. It is indeed a high-risk species."
CNN reported that a recent search of the area had revealed no further specimens. The searching is likely to continue for a further week.
One fish biologist suggested that the snakehead may have been dumped by a fishkeeper. However, Channa argus is actually rarely kept by fishkeepers, but the species is a popular food fish with some groups.
A Korean grocer from Los Angeles' Koreatown area was arrested on charges of illegally importing banned Northern snakeheads into the country earlier this year.