The northern snakehead, Channa argus, is an invasive species throughout North America.
Credit: chungking | Shutterstock.com
Not all of New York City's predators are found on Wall Street.
Officials with New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are planning to survey a lake in Central Park for signs of the dreaded northern snakehead fish, aka "Frankenfish," NBCNews.com reports.
The snakehead (Channa argus), so named because its ugly face resembles that of a toothy reptile with a wide grin, is an invasive species that's native to Asia. One was spotted several years ago in a lake in Central Park, NBC reports.
A voracious top predator, the snakehead eats frogs, crayfish and other fish. Snakeheads can breathe air and live in very shallow water, or outside of water in damp conditions, for several days, according to the DEC.
However, rumors that snakeheads can walk across land (and that marauding gangs of snakeheads are terrorizing Manhattan's Upper West Side) are largely unfounded.
"Northern snakeheads do not walk on land," Virginia Tech's snakehead information website states. "Their pectoral fins…lack spines, and have only soft rays. Thus, they have no 'legs' to propel them forward."
Nonetheless, wildlife officials are concerned that the invasive fish can wipe out populations of native fish. Anglers who land a snakehead are urged by the DEC to "kill it immediately, freeze it and report your catch."