Northern snakehead (Channa argus) were first found in the Potomac River in 2004. In 2007, we documented feeding and reproductive behavior to better understand how this species is performing in this novel environment. From April to October, we used electrofishing surveys to collect data on growth, condition, and gonad weight of adult fish. Growth rates of young were measured on a daily basis for several weeks. Mean length-at-age for Potomac River northern snakehead was lower than for fish from China, Russia, and Uzbekistan. Fish condition was above average during spring and fall, but below average in summer. Below-average condition corresponded to periods of high spawning activity. Gonadosomatic index indicated that females began spawning at the end of April and continued through August. Peak spawning occurred at the beginning of June when average temperatures reached 26°C. Larval fish growth rate, after the transition to exogenous feeding, was 2.3 (SD ± 0.7) mm (total length, TL) per day. Although Potomac River northern snakehead exhibited lower overall growth rates when compared to other populations, these fish demonstrated plasticity in timing of reproduction and rapid larval growth rates. Such life history characteristics likely contribute to the success of northern snakehead in its new environment and limit managers’ options for significant control of its invasion.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Individual growth and reproductive behavior in a newly established population of northern snakehead (Channa argus), Potomac River, USA|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Leetown|
|Other Geospatial||Dogue Creek Bay, Potomac River|
|Online Only (Y/N)||N|
|Additional Online Files (Y/N)||N|