It’s Another Invasive Creature in Pennsylvania, but This One Swims

Brad Bosch holding a caught snakehead fish.
Image via Brad Bosch, as printed in the Reading Eagle.
Brad Bosch harvested this northern snakehead May 21 in Richmond township, PA.

First we had to worry about the Lanternfly devastating our crops. Now there’s an invasive fish known as the snakehead.

Also known as frankenfish, or channa argus, it is submarine-shaped, with a toothy mouth and can grow in excess of 33 inches, writes Susan Miers Smith for the Reading Eagle.

Native to China, Russia and Korea, it’s invaded U.S. and Pennsylvania rivers, including those in Delaware, Chester and Bucks counties.

 “During all of their life stages, snakehead fish compete with native species for food and habitat,” reports the U.S. Geological Survey.

The USGS is concerned that snakeheads, known to be voracious predators, might out-compete and displace native or established predatory fish.

That could drastically disrupt food webs and ecological conditions, reports the USGS.

The first confirmed harvest of the fish in Pennsylvania was at Philadelphia’s FDR Park in 2004.

The USGS website shows nine snakeheads have been reported in Delaware County, 11 in Bucks County and five in Chester County. In 2022, a snakehead was discovered May 12 at Chester Creek in Delaware County.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website suggests anglers who catch a snakehead should not release it but report it to the Commission.

Read more at The Reading Eagle about the snakehead fish.

Learn more about the snakehead fish.