Discovery of a reproducing wild population of the swamp eel Amphipnous cuchia (Hamilton, 1822) in North America.
We report discovery of an established population of the Asian swamp eel Amphipnous cuchia (Hamilton, 1822) in Bayou St. John, an urban waterway in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. This fish, commonly referred to as cuchia (kuchia), is a member of the family Synbranchidae and is native to southern and southeastern Asia. Recently-used synonyms include Monopterus cuchia and Ophichthys cuchia. We collected both adult and young-of-year cuchia from dense mats of littoral vegetation at several locations in Bayou St. John. Presence of multiple age and size classes is the first documented evidence of reproduction of this species outside of its native range. Establishment of this air-breathing, burrowing, salt-tolerant, opportunistic predator is of concern given that Bayou St. John is a tributary of Lake Pontchartrain, which provides a direct pathway for dispersal into the Mississippi River basin and coastal wetlands of the Gulf of Mexico.