Invasive Northern Snakeheads Are Spreading in the Midwest

Invasive Northern Snakeheads Are Spreading in the Midwest
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This month the Missouri Department of Conservation announced that an angler had caught the state’s second northern snakehead while seining for bait at the Duck Creek Conservation Area in Puxico. For two days following the catch, which occurred on May 19, MDC staff searched the conservation area and adjacent Mingo National Wildlife Refuge high and low for more snakeheads, but didn’t find any. Biologists expect the small population to continue spreading through the St. Francis River watershed.

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That’s a big problem, even though anglers have adopted them as a favorite game fish and culinary treat. As with any invasive species, the northern snakehead threatens to strain the habitat and food sources that support St. Francis’ robust fishery full of native bass, walleye, pike, crappie, and lake trout. Juvenile northern snakehead feed on zooplankton, but their appetites grow to…

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