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Air-breathing, frog-hunting snakehead fish found in Manatee County

An aggressive, airbreathing, frog-killing fish was discovered living in a Manatee County freshwater pond, according to a recent study from the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History.

This is the first documented occurrence of the suave-named goldline snakehead fish in Gulf Coast waters. Snakeheads are native to Myanmar and western Thailand but were introduced to the wild worldwide for their popularity in ornamental fish trades and sport fishing.

Where in Manatee were they found?

The snakeheads were captured at a large, unnamed freshwater pond located in the Williams Creek watershed, a tributary of the Braden River.

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission captured nearly 400 snakeheads from June 2020 — the initial discovery — through May 2021. Field scientists completed numerous visual surveys by hand or boat electrofishing, finding the fish most often along the pond’s perimeter and vegetation. There were no confirmed sightings or evidence of snakeheads in any other waterways outside of the pond, according to the study.