A massive, record-breaking fish has been pulled from a South Florida canal -- but it's not good news.
That's because the 14 pounds, 3 ounce fish is a bullseye snakehead, an eel-shaped, freakish-looking invasive species that Florida Fish And Wildlife Commission officials certainly weren't hoping to find growing quite so fat in Broward County's C-14 canal.
FWC staffer Murray Stanford was electrofishing for snakehead -- a technique used by biologists in which a weak electric current temporarily stuns fish to make collection possible -- when he pulled up the whopper of an unwelcome guest. (Story continues below.)
"We knew right away," Kelly Gestring, who works for FWC's non-native fish research lab in Boca Raton, told CBS Miami. "It was definitely the largest one we have ever collected."
In fact, Stanford's bullseye snakehead would have shattered the previous record of 12 pounds, 8 ounces, but won't count for the record books since he didn't catch it fishing with a line.
The bullseye snakehead hasn't proven to be as destructive an invader as pythons in the Everglades, but its unsightly looks and alarming legend have kept the South Asian native in the headlines -- especially when the so-called "Frankenfish" was released in Maryland waterways, setting off a national hysteria.
Snakeheads breath air, have red eyes, and can reportedly live for hours out of water, making the carnivorous species a perfect suspect for tall tales, urban legends, and bad TV movies.
Fortunately -- since the fish are so determined to make South Florida home-- it turns out they're delicious. FWC has been promoting the consumption of bullseye snakeheads, even bringing in Florida Agriculture chef Justin Timineri to cooked it pan-seared with a honey citrus glaze at last month's awards ceremony for the Florida Python Challenge.
Possessing a live snakehead is illegal.
"If you catch one, you have to kill it in some way," Gestring told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "Usually the angler just gives them a real good whack on the head."
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Origin: Southeast Asia Threat: Tertiary predator that preys on native fish, frogs, worms, and crabs, among other fauna Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/fish/freshwater/nonnatives/swamp-eel/">FWC</a>, <a href="http://www.fpl.com/environment/exotic/asian_swamp_eel.shtml#TopOfPage">FPL</a>
Origin: South America Threat: Scientists believe tegus compete with and prey on native Florida wildlife including endangered species Source: <a href="http://www.myfwc.com/media/2380549/Tegu-brochure.pdf">FWC</a>
Cuban Tree Frog
Origin: Caribbean Threat: Preys on smaller, native Florida tree frogs, reducing their populations Sources: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/amphibians/cuban-treefrog/">FWC</a>, <a href="http://www.fpl.com/environment/exotic/cuban_tree_frog.shtml">FPL</a>
Origin: South Pacific and Indian Oceans Threat: Predatory reef fish that preys on and reduces the populations native Florida fish, including grouper and snapper. Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/marine-species/lionfish/">FWC</a>
Origin: Eurasia Threat: Causes huge financial damages to the state's agricultural industry, damaging crops and transmitting diseases Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/hunting/by-species/wild-hog/">FWC</a>, <a href="http://www.fpl.com/environment/exotic/wild_hog.shtml">FPL</a>
Origin: Amazon rainforest, Central America Threat: Scavenges on leftover vegetable and animal foods in urban areas; glands and eggs produce and contain toxic secretion Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/amphibians/giant-toad/">FWC</a>
Origin: Europe Threat: Aggressively drives native birds away from their habitat in large flocks, producing massive amounts of fecal matter that damage power lines Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/birds/european-starling/">FWC</a>, <a href="http://www.fpl.com/environment/exotic/european_starling.shtml#TopOfPage">FPL</a>
Origin: Africa, Middle East Threat: Compete with native fish for food and habitat, and considered a major threat to the Everglades by the National Park Service Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/fish/freshwater/nonnatives/blue-tilapia/">FWC</a>, <a href="http://www.fpl.com/environment/exotic/blue_tilapia.shtml#TopOfPage">FPL</a>
Origin: Brazil Threat: Eats seeds and the eggs of small birds, in addition to causing painful stings and agricultural crop damage Source: <a href="http://www.fpl.com/environment/exotic/fire_ants.shtml#TopOfPage">FPL</a>
Origin: Amazon rainforest and Central America Threat: Preys on mammals and competes for food and territory with Florida's native American alligator Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/reptiles/spectacled-caiman/">FWC</a>, <a href="http://www.fpl.com/environment/exotic/spectacled_caiman.shtml#TopOfPage">FPL</a>
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Origin: Eurasia Threat: A potential carrier of rabies Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/mammals/red-fox/">FWC</a>
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Origin: Southeastern Africa Threat: Voracious, omnivorous feeder that could present a threat to native species Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/mammals/vervet-monkey/">FWC</a>
Origin: South America Threat: Causes damage to ponds, trees, and vegetation, effecting the habitats of native Florida semi-aquatic and water fauna Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/recreation/pond-management/">FWC</a>
Origin: East Asia Threat: Competes with native Wood ducks for mates but cannot hybridize with such species Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/birds/mandarin-duck/">FWC</a>
Origin: Mississippi River watershed Threat: Rivals native Florida red-belly turtles in local ponds Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/reptiles/red-eared-slider/">FWC</a>
African Redhead Agama
Origin: Subsaharan Africa Threat: Potentially preys on smaller vertebrates, such as native Florida lizards Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/reptiles/african-redhead-agama/">FWC</a>
Origin: Congo, Southeast Asia Threat: Voracious appetite capable of disrupting the food chain of native water fauna, and can thrive without being submerged in water Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/fish/freshwater/nonnatives/walking-catfish/">FWC</a>
Origin: Central and South America Threat: Feeds on lizards, birds, and vertebrates in trees and on the ground, competing with native Florida land fauna Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/reptiles/common-boa/">FWC</a>
Origin: Nile River watershed, Subsaharan Africa Threat: Digs up and feeds on native Florida reptile eggs, also preying on birds, lizards, and frogs Source: <a href="http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/nonnatives/reptiles/nile-monitor/">FWC</a>