Eating Invaders: Managing Biological Invasions with Fork and Knife?

Vol. 28 No. 2

Mr. Galperin is the Associate Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and a Clinical Lecturer at the Yale Law School. Ms. Kuebbing is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The snakehead fish is not an attractive animal. It is long, up to four feet, shaped like a cylinder; its protruding lower jaw and large head fins give it the unflattering name. But the pancaked flounder and beady-eyed catfish are also unsightly. What troubles people, and what sets the snakehead apart, is fear the snakehead might join the cabal of non-native fish, like Asian carp and lionfish, that wreak ecological havoc in rivers, streams, and oceans. The snakehead is particularly alarming because it can walk, and it can breathe air. This is not an exaggeration. Unlike other fish that must hitch a ride from pond to pond, a snakehead can pull itself out of water, drag itself across land, and find its way to new habitat.

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