Feeding ecology and diet

Active during the day, although the dwarf snakehead (Channa gachua) has been reported to be nocturnal, all snake-heads are predatory, ambush feeders, eating almost any animal smaller than their mouths. Usually solitary feeders as adults, as juveniles they actively migrate in schools, hunting foods such as zooplankton, small insects, and crustaceans. Adult snakeheads feed on everything from insects (both terrestrial and aquatic) to young birds, including fishes, frogs, tadpoles, lizards, geckos, mice, rats, and ducks. They primar-

MLM©2003

Mating posture of snakeheads. (Illustration by Michelle Meneghini)

ily hunt by sight, but smell and other senses may also be involved. They sometimes jump up from the water surface to grasp their prey.

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