The snakeheads are members of the freshwater perciform fish family Channidae, native to parts of Africa and Asia.
Snakeheads became a national news topic in the United States because of the appearance of C. argus, commonly known as northern snakeheads, spawning in a Crofton, Maryland, pond in 2002. Northern snakeheads became permanently established in the Potomac River around 2004; and possibly established in Florida. In about 120 mi (190 km) of river, the population has surpassed 21,000 individuals.
According to the International Game Fish Association, Caleb Newton, a Spotsylvania County, Virginia, resident, caught a world-record 17 lb 6 oz (7.9 kg) northern snakehead at the junction of Aquia Creek and the Potomac River, United States, on June 1, 2013. The previous record, 2 oz (57 g) smaller, had been caught in 2004, in Miki, Kagawa, Japan.