Behold the northern snakehead, also known as the frankenfish; an invasive species coming soon to waterways near you.
But if fisherman like Caleb Newton – a Virginia resident who just reeled in the current world-record northern snakehead – keep at it, maybe we’ll have a few less frankenfish to worry about.
The Free Lance-Star reports that the International Game Fish Association confirmed Newton’s catch of a 17 pound, 6 ounce northern snakehead in Aquia Creek on June 1. The previous record, 17 pounds, 4 ounces, was caught in Miki Kagawa, Japan in 2004. The new record-holding fish was around three feet in length.
Although the term frankenfish may seem derogatory, the comparison to novelist Mary Shelley's grotesque creature created by Victor Frankenstein doesn’t come without reason. The northern snakehead is a huge carnivorous predator with razor sharp teeth, that can breathe air and survive for up to four days out of water. Oh, and it “walks” across land by wriggling its body across the ground, allowing it to gain even further access to new ecosytsems. It has no predators (except for fisherman like Caleb Newton).
First spotted in a Maryland pond after one was released by someone who purchased some from a fish market in Manhattan’s Chinatown; they have spread from the Potomac River to other Chesapeake Bay rivers and have now been spotted everywhere from New York to California, landing them on Time magazine's list of top 10 invasive species.
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