Channa marulius (bullseye snakehead)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Water Tolerances
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Environmental Impact
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Channa marulius Hamilton 1822
Preferred Common Name
- bullseye snakehead
Other Scientific Names
- Channa marulius ara Deraniyagala (1945)
- Ophicephalus aurolineatus Day (1870)
- Ophicephalus grandinosus Cuvier (1831)
- Ophicephalus leucopunctatus Sykes (1839)
- Ophicephalus marulius Hamilton (1822)
- Ophicephalus marulius ara Deraniyagala (1945)
- Ophicephalus pseudomarulius Günther (1861)
- Ophicephalus sowara Cuvier (1831)
- Ophicephalus theophrasti Valenciennes (1840)
International Common Names
- English: cobra snakehead; giant murrel; giant snakehead; great snakehead; indian snakehead; murrel
Local Common Names
- Bangladesh: gajar; gozar
- Cambodia: pla chon ngu hao
- Denmark: kæmpe-slangheovedfisk
- Finland: intiankäärmeenpää
- Germany: augenfleck-schlangenkopf
- India: avalu; aviri; aviu; bhor; bohr; bral; chaeru veraal; coaree veralavuree; curuva; dowlah; gajal; gajar; haal; hoovina-mural; iru iral; kalamasa; kubrah; madinji; maral; ngamuporom; pa gooan; pa kouan; pba gooa; phoola-chapa; phool-mural; pool-a-malle; poomeenu; pumuri; pumurl; puveral; saal; sal; sawal; sawl; soal; vral
- Laos: pa gooan; pa kouan; pba gooa
- Myanmar: nga-yan-daing
- Nepal: bhaura; saul; saura
- Russian Federation: zmeegolov-maruliy
- Sri Lanka: ara; gangara; kalumaha; trey raws
- Thailand: pla tjon gnoo aow
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
The bullseye snakehead (C. marulius) is native to a wide range of countries in southern Asia and India and has been introduced to Broward County in Florida, USA (Howells, 2004). It is entirely absent from Indonesia and Malaysia and may have been replaced by C. maruloides. C. marulius, one of the largest species of snakeheads (Bardach et al., 1972), prefers deep, clear lakes and rivers with firm sand or rocky substrate. As C. marulius constructs nests of vegetation for spawning and rearing of young, the species is often found in association with flooded forests and submerged vegetation (Talwar and Jhingran, 1992). C. marulius is aggressive and highly predatory and is known to prey upon fishes (including conspecifics), crustaceans and insects (Dasgupta, 2000). They are highly sought after as a game species in Thailand and are known from both the aquarium and live food fish industries (Courtenay and Williams, 2004).
Following the introduction of the species into the USA, likely as a result of intentional public release via the aquarium or live food fish trade, significant concern exists regarding further invasion into non-native waterbodies and the resulting impacts to native biotic communities. Trophic collapse, extirpation of native species and significant risk to humans are all potential consequences of an invasion by C. marulius. The species also has the potential to successfully disperse between waterbodies as a result of a respiratory adaptation which allows it to breathe air from the atmosphere and enables the species to be independent of an aquatic environment for lengths of time. Additionally, its long, serpentine body form provides the opportunity for C. marulius to 'wiggle' and disperse overland between waterbodies not connected by aquatic channels, further increasing its potential for invasiveness.
Federal legislation exists in the United States to prevent the importation and transportation of all members of the family Channidae (the snakeheads) between the continental USA and its territories (Hoffman, 2002). The species is listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the federally regulated list of injurious fishes. At present, no federal or provincial legislation exists in Canada regarding the importation, transportation or possession of snakehead fishes.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Perciformes
- Suborder: Channoidei
- Family: Channidae
- Genus: Channa
- Species: Channa marulius
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
C. marulius was first identified as Ophiocephalus marulius Hamilton, 1822. No types are known (Courtenay and Williams, 2004). Maurice Kottelat and Tyson Roberts (pers. comm. to JD Williams, 2001) indicated that C. marulius, as currently recognized, is possibly a species complex (Courtenay and Williams, 2004).
DescriptionTop of page
C. marulius is an elongate, freshwater fish with a single, long dorsal fin, long anal fin, tubular nostrils and a distinctive orange ocellus near the caudal peduncle, which in juvenile fish is more than 40 cm in length (Fuller, 2011). They exhibit a broadly flattened head, with eyes localized anteriorly, in a dorsolateral position. A series of dark blotches along the sides, outlined by a row of white scales, are present in juvenile fish. The pectoral fin length is approximately half of the head length (Courtenay and Williams, 2004).
C. marulius has a small head and a large mouth with some of the largest teeth of any of the snakehead species (Howells, 2004). The lower jaw supports seven to 18 canine teeth behind a single row of villiform teeth that increase to five or six rows at the symphysis of the jaw (Courtenay and Williams, 2004). Teeth are present on the pre-vomer but are absent on the palatines.
Scales are absent from the gular regions of the head. Lateral line scales decrease in position by two scale rows between the 16th and 18th perforated scale. Large scales are observed on the top of the head and are similar to the cephalic plates observed in many species of snake worldwide. Parietal scales are of moderate-size, with a rosette of head scales between the orbits, and a frontal head scale at the center. Two scales are present between the rosette and the basal head scale, and 10 scale rows occur between the pre-opercular angle and posterior border of the orbit (Courtenay and Williams, 2004).
C. marulius is reported to be the largest species of the family Channidae, often reaching 30 cm in 1 year, and a total length of 120 to 122 cm (Bardach et al., 1972; Talwar and Jhingran, 1992). It has been reported growing up to 180 cm long and weighing 30 kg from Maharashtra State, western India (Talwar and Jhingran, 1992); however, this is disputed (Pethiyagoda and Musikasinthorn, pers. comm. 2002, in Courtenay and Williams, 2004). The species has been identified as one of the two fastest growing species of snakehead (Kok, 1982), with the greatest increase in weight occurring in year two and slowing with increasing age. Fish weighing up to 30 kg have been reported from its native range (Howells, 2004). Young C. marulius are facultative airbreathers but this behaviour is obligatory among adult fish. Oxygen consumption has been documented to be highest at night.
Morphometrics (from FishBase, 2006):
- standard length: 82.9-86.7 % total length (TL)
- fork length: 100 % TL
- pre-anal length: 45.0-45.5 % TL
- pre-dorsal length: 26.9-28.3 % TL
- pre-pelvic length: 24.9-27.3 % TL
- pre-pectoral length: 25.0-46.5 % TL
- body depth: 12.5-12.7 % TL
- head length (HL): 20.7-24.4 % TL
- eye diameter: 12.3-16.9 % HL
- pre-orbital length: 12.9-20.3 % HL
- Aspect ratio of caudal fin: 0.811849-1.05014
- Max length : 183 cm TL male/unsexed
- Common length : 46 cm TL male/unsexed
- Max published weight: 30.0 kg
DistributionTop of page
The native range of this species extends from approximately 34º N to 7º N, which appears to indicate a preference for temperate to tropical conditions. C. marulius is native to Asia, from India to China, south to Thailand, Cambodia and Pakistan (Fuller, 2011). It is native to the Kabul and Indus Rivers in Pakistan (Mirza, 1999), many drainages of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, southern Nepal (Gandaki, Koshi, and Karnali River basins), Myanmar, Thailand, Mekong basin of Laos and Cambodia, and southern China (Day, 1877; Nichols, 1943; Mendis and Fernando, 1962; Qureshi, 1965; Fernando and Indrassna, 1969; Pethiyagoda, 1991; Talwar and Jhingran, 1992; Rainboth, 1996; Kottelat, 2001a; USGS, 2008). In southern India, the species is commonly found in reservoirs. It is found in the vicinities of the Pechpparai, Chittar, Manimuthar, Bhvani and Mettur dams of Tamil Nadu Thenmalai, Neyyar, and near to the Idukki dams of Kerala. The species is not found in Malaysia or Indonesia, and may have been displaced there by C. maruloides; however, their native ranges do not overlap (Courtenay and Williams, 2004).
Known introduced range
This species has been introduced to the United States and has been found in many residential lakes and canals in Broward County, Florida (USA) (Fuller, 2011).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Bangladesh||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
|Cambodia||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
|China||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
|India||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
|Indonesia||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
|Laos||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
|Myanmar||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
|Nepal||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
|Pakistan||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
|Sri Lanka||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
|Thailand||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
|Vietnam||Present||Native||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese R and Pauly D (2009)|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
C. marulius was introduced into residential ponds and adjoining canals in Tamarac, Broward County, Florida, USA and by 2001, became established as a reproducing population (Howells, 2004). It is thought that this introduction is the result of an intentional release of live individuals by the public from either the aquarium or live food fish industry.
Live food trade
C. marulius is highly valued throughout Asia as a food item and the potential for spread beyond its native range exists as a result of interest by the live food fish industry (Courtenay and Williams, 2004). The species has been known to be cultured for the live food fish industry and is highly prized in Asian markets.
This species has been known to be cultured for the aquarium fish trade; however, it is increasingly expensive to provide live food items and often exceeds aquarium capacity, both of which promotes intentional release of unwanted specimens to non-native habitats (Courtenay and Williams, 2004). The introduction of the species into Broward County in Florida, USA, can likely be attributed to the aquarium trade (Fuller, 2011).
Due to its facultative air breathing ability, C. marulius has the ability to move over land for short distances (Courtenay and Williams, 2004).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Florida||Yes||USGS (2008)||Big Cypress National Wildlife Refuge; reported, alien|
|Florida||Yes||Courtenay and Williams (2004); Froese and Pauly (2009); Shafland et al. (2007)||Broward County; alien|
|Florida||USGS (2008)||Florida Everglades; alien|
|Florida||Fuller (2011)||Reported; invasive|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Snakeheads are highly aggressive apex predators which have the ability to travel overland to exploit new bodies of water. C. marulius is highly predaceous (Jhingran, 1984; Talwar and Jhingran, 1992), most notably towards other fish (Schmidt, 2001); however, it also has the potential to impact native crustaceans (Fuller, 2011). In a study of gut content analysis (n=127), C. marulius was identified as consuming conspecifics, bluegill, mosquitofish, warmouth, peacock bass, lizards, Bufo toads, small turtles, a rat and a snake (Cocking, 2008). Severe impacts are likely to be experienced by native fish communities, who have no natural enemies outside of their native environment, following an invasion by C. marulius in non-native water bodies. However, six years following the invasion of C. marulius into natural water bodies in Broward County in Florida, USA, significant changes in native fish community composition have yet to be observed (Hardin, 2007).
Males are highly territorial and will vigorously defend nesting sites and young. Fish will bite when they are handled and have been identified as traumatogenic (FishBase, 2006).
HabitatTop of page
C. marulius prefers sluggish or standing water in rivers, canals, lakes and swamps that are characterized by submerged aquatic vegetation. It may also occupy areas of flooded forests and deeper riverine pools (Courtenay and Williams, 2004). They are often found in deep, clear water with sand or rocky substrate (Talwar and Jhingran, 1992). Thermal preferences are tropical, subtropical and warm temperate climates (Courtenay and Williams, 2004,) with average temperatures of 24°C to 28°C (Pethiyagoda, 1991). Mean air temperature was identified as the most significant environmental variable with respect to habitat suitability (Herborg et al., 2007), and may explain the more tropical distribution of C. marulius in the United States when compared to other known invasive species of snakeheads, such as C. argus.
Habitat ListTop of page
|Irrigation channels||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Irrigation channels||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Productive/non-natural|
|Lakes||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Reservoirs||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rivers / streams||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rivers / streams||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Ponds||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
The diploid number of chromosomes for C. marulius is 44 (Donsakul and Magtoon, 1991). The genetics of this species have been well studied, recently with particular focus on the genetic relatedness among fish species in the genus Channa (Lakra et al., 2010).
C. marulius often hunts in early and late daylight hours. The species is an ambush predator and will wait until prey items arrive in the vicinity before attacking. Native populations of C. marulius are solitary and often use vegetation for camouflage while seeking prey (Courtenay and Williams, 2004).
In aquaria, snakeheads are aggressive and have been known to break through canopies and escape from the tank. C. marulius is not recommended to be housed in aquaria with other species of fishes or with conspecifics once they have attained 25 cm in length due to their predatory nature (Courtenay and Williams, 2004).
C. marulius builds floating nests of vegetation where buoyant orange-yellow eggs are deposited into the water column and rise to become entrapped in the floating nest (Courtenay and Williams, 2004). Breeding occurs through most of the year and can vary slightly depending on location (Courtenay and Williams, 2004). Brood sizes can range widely, from 350-3600 young; however, the typical brood size of C. marulius is approximately 500 young. Eggs hatch within 54 hours at 16°C to 26°C and within 30 hours at 28°C to 33°C (Courtenay and Williams, 2004). Fry are guarded by the parents until they reach about 10 cm in length.
ClimateTop of page
|A - Tropical/Megathermal climate||Tolerated||Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually|
|C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate||Preferred||Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C|
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||10||Harmful||All Stages||As observed in introduced populations from Florida (Courtenay and Williams 2004)|
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
C. marulius has the potential to successfully disperse both within and between water bodies, thanks to a respiratory adaptation which allows it to breathe air from the atmosphere and enables it to be independent of an aquatic environment for lengths of time. Additionally, its long, serpentine body form provides the opportunity for C. marulius to 'wiggle' and disperse overland between waterbodies not connected by aquatic channels, further increasing its potential for invasiveness.
C. marulius is an important commercial, aquaculture, game and aquarium fish (FishBase, 2006). It has been cultured in ponds, ricefields and other waterbodies which do not typically support fishes, such as irrigation wells. It is reported that C. marulius is highly suitable for cage aquaculture and, when reared with tilapia, has been found to be an effective tool to restrict population overgrowth and, therefore, minimizes stunted growth patterns among the more desirable tilapia (Ebanasar, 1995). They are prized as game fish within their native range due to their aggressive fight behaviour when angled. Some snakeheads are highly valued in the food fish industry, particularly the northern snakehead (C. argus), blotched snakehead (C. maculata), Chinese snakehead (C. asiatica) and chevron snakehead (C. striata), as well as C. marulius (Herborg et al., 2007).
C. marulius is not common in the global aquarium trade due to federal legislation in the United States prohibiting the importation and transportation of snakeheads. Discussion from aquarist-oriented online hobby forums indicates an interest in the species and suggests it may be becoming as popular as C. micropeltes among aquarium enthusiasts (Schmidt, 2001). The introduction of C. marulius into Broward County in Florida, USA, may be the result of an intentional release of an aquarium specimen into a water body. However, C. marulius has also been observed as part of the live food fish industry in New York City (Leo Smith, pers. comm. 2002, in Courtenay and Williams, 2004). The popularity of C. marulius as a game species in Thailand may promote intentional introduction into natural water bodies (Courtenay and Williams, 2004). Specimens of C. marulius have been found at aquarium stores in the United States and Canada which indicates that the species is able to be obtained commercially, despite federal restrictions in the USA.
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Aquaculture||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Escape from confinement or garden escape||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Fisheries||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Food||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Forage||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Hunting, angling, sport or racing||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Intentional release||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Interbasin transfers||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Interconnected waterways||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Internet sales||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Live food or feed trade||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Ornamental purposes||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|People foraging||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|People sharing resources||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Pet trade||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Self-propelled||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Smuggling||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
|Aquaculture stock||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Bait||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Consumables||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Live seafood||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
|Pets and aquarium species||Yes||Yes||Courtenay and Williams, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2009|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||Negative|
Environmental ImpactTop of page
C. marulius has the ability to significantly impact the function of ecosystems and foodwebs among native biotic communities. Its invasion produces cascading impacts to the food chain by reducing the abundance of planktivorous fish through predation, thus enhancing the abundance of zooplankton and reducing the abundance of phytoplankton. These changes would have energetic implications for the entire aquatic ecosystem.
C. marulius is a voracious apex predator with few, if any, natural enemies. The species has tremendous potential to severely impact native populations of fishes as well as other crustaceans, insects and other biota. Snakeheads are able to negatively impact native populations at all life stages, from egg predation to consumption of adult fishes. Additionally, cascading effects at all trophic levels promote a monoculture of snakeheads in non-native water bodies. Once a habitat is no longer suitable and native populations have been decimated, C. marulius is capable of dispersing overland to exploit new environments and populations. This enables widespread dispersal of a highly fecund population of an invasive species with significant impacts at all trophic levels. Little is known of the thermal range required to support the species, although it is likely that, given the wide range of habitats available in North America, suitable conditions exist to support the establishment of C. marulius.
Social ImpactTop of page
In some cultures, snakehead fishes are thought to confer good health and longevity to those in possession of it. Accordingly, the species is highly sought for the live food fish industry. Social consequences may exist should a population of C. marulius become established which negatively impacts commercial fisheries or other industries, resulting in economic losses or reduction in the quality of the recreational usage of water bodies. There may be cultural ramifications, but it is more likely that there would economic and recreational losses of affected communities.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Is a habitat generalist
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
- Highly mobile locally
- Fast growing
- Has high reproductive potential
- Altered trophic level
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Host damage
- Increases vulnerability to invasions
- Modification of natural benthic communities
- Modification of nutrient regime
- Modification of successional patterns
- Monoculture formation
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts human health
- Negatively impacts animal health
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
- Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
- Negatively impacts tourism
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Threat to/ loss of endangered species
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Negatively impacts animal/plant collections
- Damages animal/plant products
- Negatively impacts trade/international relations
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Pest and disease transmission
- Interaction with other invasive species
- Rapid growth
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
- Difficult/costly to control
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
The only other species of Channa which is characterized as having a large ocellus at the base of the upper lobe of the caudal fin is C. maruiloides. The two species are not likely to be confused in the field as the geographic ranges of the fishes do not overlap (Courtenay and Williams, 2004). In contrast to C.marulius, C. marulioides exhibits 55-58 lateral line scales, 13-15 predorsal scales, and 5-7 preopercular scales. The lateral line descends abruptly between the 17thand 20thscale in C. marulioides; compared with a decrease at the 16th and 18th scale as observed in C. marulius. Juveniles of both species may have a series of dark blotches along the sides; however, in C. marulius, they are margined posteriorly and posterodorsally by a series of white scales. Blotches exhibited by late juveniles and adults of C. marulioides are usually black, and margined with white (Lee and Ng, 1991).
C. marulius may also be confused with the bowfin (Amia calva), which can be distinguished as having a long dorsal fin and a short rounded anal fin, rather than having both a long dorsal and anal fin as exhibited by C. marulius, as well as the pelvic fins being inserted more posteriorly on the body. Bowfin lack parietal scales and possess a prominent dark eyespot with a golden halo near the caudal peduncle. A large, gular plate is also a defining characteristic of the bowfin that is not shared by any snakehead species.
Many snakehead species may also be confused with the burbot (Lota lota) which is distinguished by having a split dorsal fin, the origin of the pelvic fins inserted anterior to the pectoral fins, and the possession of a single barbel on the lower jaw.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
The potential to eradicate or control C. marulius populations depends on dispersal location and level of establishment. If broadly dispersed in large lakes or river systems, eradication or control would likely be impossible. Management options for population control within smaller water bodies are dependent upon the amount of aquatic vegetation, accessibility of the water body and the effectiveness of the control techniques employed (Hoffman, 2002).
All members of the family Channidae, including C. marulius, have been placed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the federally regulated list of injurious fishes. Effective since 2002, the transport or importation between the continental United States and other territories of the United States of any snakehead specimens is illegal, and is federally enforced (Hoffman, 2002). Canada currently does not have federal regulations to prohibit the import of potentially invasive species.
Effective removal strategies for established populations of C. marulius must rely on several methods to eradicate the species from non-native water bodies, due to their uncommon biological attributes. Chemical removal using the piscicide Rotenone, which acts to reduce available oxygen in the water, would be ineffective against C. marulius due to its ability for air breathing and would likely only result in the removal of non-target species. Electrofishing and netting would provide a level of population control, but would be ineffective across all size classes.
Gaps in Knowledge/Research NeedsTop of page
More information is needed on water chemistry parameters and required temperatures, as well as a quantification of impacts to native populations.
ReferencesTop of page
Ahmad MU; Khumar F; Anwar S; Siddiqui MS, 1990. Preliminary observations on the growth and food of the murrel Channa (=Ophicephalus) marulius (Bloch) of the River Kali in north India. Journal of Freshwater Biology, 2:47-50.
Bardach JE; Ryther JH; McLarney WO, 1972. Aquaculture. The farming and husbandry of freshwater and marine organisms. Aquaculture. The farming and husbandry of freshwater and marine organisms., xii + 868pp.
Cocking S, 2008. Snakeheads posing no threat. Raleigh, North Carolina, USA: The News and Observer. http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/story/1319821.html
Courtenay Jr WR; Williams JD, 2004. Snakeheads (Pisces, Channidae) - A Biological Synopsis and Risk Assessment. US Geological Survey Circular, 1251. Reston, Virginia, USA: US Geological Survey. http://fisc.er.usgs.gov/Snakehead_circ_1251/circ_1251_courtenay.pdf
Dasgupta M, 2000. Adaptation of the alimentary tract to feeding habits in four species of fish of the genus Channa. Indian Journal of Fisheries, 47:265-269.
Day F, 1877. On the fishes of Yarkand. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London:781-807.
Donsakul T; Magtoon W, 1991. Proceedings of the 29th Kasetsart University Annual Conference: Animal Science, Veterinary Science, and Aquaculture. Bangkok, Thailand: Proceedings of the 29th Kasetsart University Annual Conference, 561-574.
Ebanasar J, 1995. Studies on some aspects of the culture of murrels. Kerala, India: University of Kerala.
Fernando CH; Indrassna HHA, 1969. The freshwater fisheries of Ceylon. Bulletin of the Fisheries Research Station of Ceylon, 20:101-134.
Froese R; Pauly (Eds) D, 2009. FishBase. Channa marulius Great snakehead. Available from: http://www.fishbase.
Froese R; Pauly D, 2006. FishBase. http://www.fishbase.org
Fuller P, 2011. Channa marulius. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida, USA: US Geological Survey. http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.asp?speciesID=2266
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ContributorsTop of page
18/01/12 Original text by:
Bethany Schroeder, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Centre of Expertise for Aquatic Risk Assessment, 867 Lakeshore Rd., Burlington, ON L7R 4A6, Canada
Becky Cudmore, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Centre of Expertise for Aquatic Risk Assessment, 867 Lakeshore Rd., Burlington, ON L7R 4A6, Canada
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