Large-Scale Predictions of Northern Snakehead Range Expansion Using Maximum Entropy Modeling
Shannon C. F. Smith, Micah Tindall, Justin Homan, and Steve E. Lochmann
Abstract.—Northern Snakehead Channa argus have been expanding within Arkansas during the past decade and have recently crossed the Mississippi River into Mississippi. Assessing environmental conditions associated with Northern Snakehead presence is crucial for identifying areas susceptible to Northern Snakehead establishment. Our objective was to identify areas in the southeastern United States that might be suitable for Northern Snakehead based on environmental conditions at known presence locations. We used maximum entropy modeling to predict the probability of snakehead presence in southeastern states using presence-only location data and environmental predictors. Our model indicated that areas with low elevation, low baseflow index, and high percentages of certain land cover types are associated with high probabilities of Northern Snakehead presence in the southeastern USA. Used in conjunction with knowledge of Northern Snakehead biology and the environmental conditions in the species’ native range, our model offers insight on areas susceptible to Northern Snakehead colonization in the southeastern USA.