Description: (Anatomy of a Fish)The bowfin is a stout fish, olive in color with darker mottling along the sides. A large, black oval spot with a yellow to orange outline is present on the body at the upper corner of the base of the caudal fin. Its dorsal fin stretches most of the length of its back. They closely resemble native Bowfin (Family Amiidae), which are often mistaken for snakeheads, but Bowfin and snakeheads are unrelated. They are generally considered "trash" fish by sportsmen, and are scorned for their voracious appetite for more desirable species. The bowfin is a stout-bodied, nearly cylindrical fish. These fish are highly invasive in North America and can cause serious harm to native fish populations. Males have a black spot circled in green at base of their tail. Now it’s time to take a look at the fish themselves. With that in mind, here’s a list of the most invasive fish in Florida. A more troubling mistake happens when anglers mistake bowfin for the invasive and menacing northern snakehead. Bowfin were introduced to the Gunpowder River in Maryland in 1971 when stocked ponds overflowed (Pearson and Ward 1972). Bowfin closely resembles the Northern Snakehead, which is native to China, Korea, and Eastern Russia. Again, bowfin are native and beneficial to native ecosystems and game fish populations. Many of the original introductions into Connecticut were illegal stockings and were eradicated (Whitworth 1996). Its large head has no scales. But, at least mistaking bowfin for burbot confuses two fishes native to North America. They were also intentionally stocked in ponds in northern and western Maryland in the 1960s (Pearson and Ward 1972). This page shows the identifying characteristics for Bowfin and one species of snakehead that has invaded other areas of the United States. They resemble bowfins and can live in similar habitats. The Answer. The Snakehead look very similar to our native bowfin. The bowfin has a fleshy swim bladder that functions much like our lungs, allowing them to obtain oxygen by gulping air. A farmer once found a live bowfin in moist soil when he ploughed a field that had been flooded a few weeks before. They’re a great fighting fish, and early in the season we always catch a few in our lake just north of Parry Sound, Ontario. All snakeheads (family Channidae) are prohibited species in Texas. Similar species: Snakeheads are native to Asia and invasive in America. Like bass, male bowfin build nests and attract spawning females who deposit eggs and leave the spawning grounds. + Image Credits. The bowfin has a large mouth equipped with many sharp teeth. Bowfin spawn in New York in May or June. The bowfin is a tubular, olive-green fish with a scaleless head and two barbels on its face. I’ve been wondering if we should try cooking them. Can you eat bowfin? Bowfin (Amia calva) - Native. Fish and Wildife Service / (diploid grass carp) Eric Engbretson, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bugwood.org / (gar) Rebekah D. Wallace, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org / (green sturgeon) CAFS CC BY-NC. Lionfish are public enemy number one among Floridian conservation experts. Similar traits between the Snakehead and the native bowfin are long cylindrical shape, long dorsal fin and rounded tail fin. Lionfish. Photos: (bighead carp) South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks , Bugwood.org / (black carp) Rob Cosgriff, Illinois Natural History Survey, Bugwood.org / (bowfin) Duane Raver/U.S. Males guard the eggs and young until they reach sizes of 3 inches or more. So, you know what an invasive fish is and get the rules on how to deal with them. The dorsal fin extends more than half the length of the back and has more than 45 rays. "Bowfin are not considered a good food fish compared to more popular freshwater gamefish species. Amia is a Greek name for an unidentified fish, probably the bonito, and calva is Latin meaning "smooth," referring perhaps to the fish's scaleless head. Invasive Fish Species in Florida. Thanks, Ron “Turtles” Crick Whitby, Ontario.