Don Cosden, Fisheries Service
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Posted on May 3, 2012 | Permalink
One result of anglers helping us to watch for and remove snakeheads from our state waters is that many other species are being misidentified as snakeheads. There are many species of fish in Maryland which at first glance look similar and also there are many small fish which are common but arenít often caught or recognized by anglers. I have posted pictures of some of those other species.
The eastern mudminnow is common in small streams and swampy areas, maximum length is only about 3Ē. This one is quiet colorful, many specimens are just a dark brown. The best way to distinguish it from a snakehead is with the fins. The snakehead has a long dorsal fin that runs along the fishes back from just behind the head and stopping just before the tail. It also has a long anal fin which starts in the middle of its belly and almost reaches the tail. The mudminnow fins are short.
The blenny comes from our tidal creeks and rivers and also the bay. It has fins similar to a snakehead but the body is very flat. The snakeheadís body is more cylindrical shape. Maximum size is a couple of inches.
The naked goby also comes from tidal creeks. Its dorsal fin is separated into two and the anal fin is shorter than a snakeheads. It is more round like the mudminnow. Maximum size is about 1 Ĺ inches.
The bowfin may be the most easily confused. It gets large, has lots of teeth and has the long dorsal fin. Notice that it has a short anal fin and usually a large eye spot near the tail.
As you can see indentifying some of our species can be confusing but hopefully this will help. Thanks to everyone for your reports. Keep them coming.