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Emersion and Terrestrial Locomotion of the Northern Snakehead ( Channa argus ) on Multiple Substrates

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Most fishes known for terrestrial locomotion are small and/or elongate. Northern snakeheads (Channa argus) are large, air-breathing piscivores anecdotally known for terrestrial behaviors. Our goals were to determine their environmental motivations for emersion, describe their terrestrial kinematics for fish 3.0–70.0 cm and compare kinematics among four substrates. For emersion experiments, C. argus was individually placed into aquatic containers with ramps extending through the surface of the water, and exposed to 15 ecologically-relevant environmental conditions. For kinematic experiments, fish were filmed moving on moist bench liner, grass, artificial turf, and a flat or tilted rubber boat deck. Videos were digitized for analysis in MATLAB and electromyography was used to measure muscular activity. Only the low pH (4.8), high salinity (30 ppt), and high dCO2 (10% seltzer solution) treatments elicited emersion responses. While extreme, these conditions do occur in some of their native Asian swamps. Northern snakeheads >4.5 cm used a unique form of axial-appendage-based terrestrial locomotion involving cyclic oscillations of the axial body, paired with near-simultaneous movements of both pectoral fins. Individuals ≤3.5 cm used tail-flip jumps to travel on land. Northern snakeheads also moved more quickly on complex, three-dimensional substrates (e.g., grass) than on smooth substrates (e.g., bench liner), and when moving downslope. Release of snakeheads onto land by humans or accidentally by predators may be more common than voluntary emersion, but because northern snakeheads can respire air, it may be necessary to factor in the ability to spread overland into the management of this invasive species.
northern snakehead
Bressman, N (author)
Love, J (author)
King, T (author)
Home, C (author)
Ashley-Ross, M (author)
2020-03-24T13:25:59Z (accessioned)
2020-03-24T13:25:59Z (available)
10/25/19 (issued)
N R Bressman, J W Love, T W King, C G Horne, M A Ashley-Ross, Emersion and Terrestrial Locomotion of the Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) on Multiple Substrates, Integrative Organismal Biology, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2019 (citation)
https://doi.org/10.1093/iob/obz026 (doi)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/96609 (uri)
en (iso)
Oxford Academic
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ (uri)
Integrative Organismal Biology
Emersion and Terrestrial Locomotion of the Northern Snakehead ( Channa argus ) on Multiple Substrates

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