Two Invasive Fish That Breathe Air + Walk On Land Being Prohibited By Minnesota DNR
I kinda went down a rabbit hole and found myself reading up on some new invasive species that the Minnesota DNR wants to prohibit. Some of the creatures described are downright spooky. Take for example the "Walking Catfish," and the "Frankenfish."
Wait, a catfish that can walk?
The Walking Catfish can actually walk on land. It's not exactly what you would think, but it gets the job done and can cross land. That's super weird.
The Walking Catfish (Clarias batrachus) is native to Southeast Asia & Africa. It's a popular fish for markets in Asia because it can live for days out of the water, as long as it keeps moist. Yeah, that's right. This fish can live out of the water. So the fish stays fresh while transporting it to market.
The way the fish "walks" is by wiggling back and forth. Its spine allows it to actually get around pretty easily. It can walk then from one body of water to another if it needs too.
Walking Catfish have established them in North America in Florida. They've also been established in nature in Hawaii. It's unlikely they would survive in Minnesota and become an established native species, but the DNR doesn't want to take a risk. They've introduced the fish to the proposed prohibited invasive species list.
Bigger Concern: Snakehead Fish or Frankenfish
Another weird fish to keep on the lookout for is the Snakefish. This fish can also breathe out of the water by using an air bladder. It can last for days on land. There have been snakefish found in rivers and streams in North America. There isn't believed to be an established breeding population in the Great Lakes, but they have found several.
The northern snakehead fish is already prohibited. Due to loopholes, the related snakehead fish isn't listed on the list of prohibited invasive species in Minnesota. The DNR aims to change that. This fish is more of a threat because it can survive in a wide range of climates, including our colder climate in Minnesota.
How do these fish end up in Minnesota waters?
In both cases, there are several ways they could get into Minnesota Lakes, rivers, and streams. Because these fish can live for days out of the water, there is a higher chance that they could survive transport to our lakes. Also, the sale of some fish as pets becomes a problem. A big cause of invasive species is fish owners not knowing what to do with their fish so they release them into the water.
You can read more about these and other proposed banned invasive species on the Minnesota DNR's website.
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