Traits of the Northern Snakehead

Bowfin and Snakeheads: Distinguishing Features

Snakeheads (family Channidae) from Africa and Asia are occasionally imported into Arkansas. They closely resemble native bowfin (Family Amiidae) but are unrelated. This page depicts one species of snakehead. About 27 others have been identified, some with different color patterns. Pelvic fins may be lacking in several snakehead species. Snakeheads are environmentally harmful. If you see or catch one in Arkansas, please contact a game warden or the AGFC.

Line drawing of bowfin
Line drawing of bowfin

Bowfin (Amia calva)
Native species, not prohibited in Arkansas

Line drawing of northern snakehead
Line drawing of northern snakehead

Northern Snakehead (Channa argus)
Exotic species; prohibited in Arkansas