Keith Connors

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Invasive airbreathing frog-hunting fish found along gulf coast. What can go wrong? Recently, a population of invasive goldline snakeheads was discovered in a pond in Manatee County, Florida. This is the first time that researchers have documented this species on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and the population is a cause for concern due to the fish’s aggressive nature and ability to survive in harsh environments.

These fish, which are native to Asia, can outlive, outhunt, and outcompete native Florida wildlife, posing a threat to the local ecology. The only other known population of goldline snakeheads in the United States is located more than 150 miles away, in Broward County.

According to Matthew Neilson, a fishery biologist with the United States Geological Survey, the discovery of the population in Manatee County is particularly concerning because it is such a long distance from the other known population in Florida, suggesting that someone may have brought the fish up from South Florida.

Snakehead Fish

(Photo by the SDA via Getty Images)

The fish are known for their large size and predatory nature, consuming a wide variety of prey, including fish, reptiles, and amphibians. In addition, researchers have observed the fish hunting on land, a behavior that is rarely seen.

The study, which was published in the journal Aquatic Invasions, took about two years to complete and was sparked by a citizen, described as a fish enthusiast, who made the discovery.

In conclusion, the discovery of this invasive population of goldline snakeheads in Florida is a cause for concern and highlights the need for continued monitoring and research to mitigate the potential harm to the local ecosystem. The public is also urged to be vigilant and report any similar sightings of invasive frog-hunting fish species. TBT