Common Carp profile



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]]>Common carp Profile Back to ProfilesFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to:navigation,search Common CarpConservation status
Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)[1]Scientific classificationKingdom:AnimaliaPhylum:ChordataClass:ActinopterygiiOrder:CypriniformesFamily:CyprinidaeGenus:CyprinusSpecies:C. carpioBinomial nameCyprinus carpio

The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a widespread freshwaterfish ofeutrophic waters in lakes and large rivers inEurope andAsia.[2][3] The wild populations are considered vulnerable to extinction, but the species has also been domesticated and introduced into environments worldwide, and is often considered aninvasive species.[2] It gives its name to thecarp family:Cyprinidae. It is on theList of the world’s 100 worst invasive species.

Taxonomy carpio carpio on the dry lake bed ofLake Albert inNew South Wales, Australia

The foursubspecies are:

  • Cyprinus carpio carpio (European carp) is found in Eastern Europe (notably theDanube andVolga Rivers).[2][4]
  • Cyprinus carpio yilmaz (Deniz carp) is found in Anatolia Turkey (notably aroundCorum) and Victoria, Australia (around Merri Creek and Coburg Lake).
  • Cyprinus carpio haematopterus (Amur carp) is native to eastern Asia.[4][5]
  • Cyprinus carpio rubrofuscus, fromSoutheast Asia,[4] is treated as a separate species Cyprinus rubrofuscus by many authorities.[6]

It is related to the commongoldfish (Carassius auratus), with which it is capable ofinterbreeding.[7][8]


The common carp is native to Asia, and has been introduced to every part of the world with the exception of the Middle East and the poles. The original common carp was found in the inland delta of theDanube River about 2000 years ago, and was torpedo-shaped and golden-yellow in colour. It had two pairs of barbels and a mesh-like scale pattern. Although this fish was initially kept as an exploited captive, it was later maintained in large, specially built ponds by the Romans in south-central Europe (verified by the discovery of common carp remains in excavated settlements in the Danube delta area). As aquaculture became a profitable branch of agriculture, efforts were made to farm the animals, and the culture systems soon included spawning and growing ponds.[9] The common carp’s native range also extends to theBlack Sea,Caspian Sea andAral Sea.

Both European and Asian subspecies have been domesticated.[4] InEurope, domestication of carp asfood fish was spread bymonks between the 13th and 16th centuries. The wild forms of carp had reached the delta of the Rhine in the 12th century already, probably also with some human help.[10] Variants that have arisen with domestication include themirror carp, with large, mirror-like scales (linear mirror – scaleless except for a row of large scales that run along thelateral line; originating inGermany), the leather carp (virtually unscaled except near dorsal fin), and the fully scaled carp.Koi carp (錦鯉 (nishikigoi) in Japanese, 鯉魚 (pinyin:lĭ yú) in Chinese) is a domesticated ornamental variety that originated in the Niigata region ofJapan in the 1820s.[11] They also invaded theGreat Lakes in 1896 when the area nearNewmarket, Ontario, flooded and allowed them to escape into theHolland River.

Physiology CarpDutch wild carp

Wild common carp are typically slimmer thandomesticated forms, with body length about four times body height, red flesh, and a forward-protruding mouth. Their average growth rate by weight is about half the growth rate of domesticated carp[12][13] They do not reach the lengths and weights of domesticated carp, which (range, 3.2–4.8 times)[2] can grow to a maximum length of 120 centimetres (47 in), a maximum weight of over 40 kilograms (88 lb),[2] and an oldest recorded age of 65 years, but reliable information seems to exist about nishikigoi of over 100 years.[13][14] The largest recorded carp, caught by an angler in January 2010 at Lac de curtons (Rainbow Lake) nearBordeaux, France, weighed 42.6 kilograms (94 lb).[15] The largest recorded carp, caught by British angler, Colin Smith, in 2013 at Etang La Saussaie Fishery, France, weighed 45.59 kilograms (100.5 lb). The average size of the common carp is around 40-80 cm (15.75-31.5 inches) and 2-14 kg (4.5-31 lb). skelitonTheskeleton of a Common Carp.

Habitat groupCarp from Vltava river, Czech Republic

Although tolerant of most conditions, common carp prefer large bodies of slow or standing water and soft, vegetative sediments. As schooling fish, they prefer to be in groups of five or more. They naturally live intemperate climates infresh or slightlybrackish water with apH of 6.5–9.0 and salinity up to about 0.5%,[16] and temperatures of 3 to 35°C.[2] The ideal temperature is 23 to 30°C, with spawning beginning at 17–18°C; they easily survive winter in a frozen-over pond, as long as some free water remains below the ice.[16] Carp are able to tolerate water with very low oxygen levels, by gulping air at the surface.[3]


Common carp areomnivorous. They can eat a herbivorous diet of water plants, but prefer to scavenge the bottom forinsects,crustaceans (includingzooplankton), crawfish, andbenthic worms.


An egg-layer, a typical adult female can lay 300,000 eggs in a singlespawn.[17] Although carp typically spawn in the spring, in response to rising water temperatures and rainfall, carp can spawn multiple times in a season. In commercial operations, spawning is often stimulated using a process called hypophysation, where lyophilized pituitary extract is injected into the fish. The pituitary extract contains gonadotropic hormones which stimulate gonad maturation and sex steroid production, ultimately promoting reproduction.


A single carp can lay over a million eggs in a year,[3] yet their population remains the same, so the eggs and young perish in similarly vast numbers. Eggs and fry often fall victim to bacteria, fungi, and the vast array of tiny predators in the pond environment. Carp which survive to juvenile are preyed upon by other fish such as thenorthern pike andlargemouth bass, and a number ofbirds (includingcormorants,herons,goosanders, andospreys)[18] andmammals (includingotter andmink).

Introduction into other habitats in lake swimming aroundCarp gather near a dock inLake of Carp Carp inMaribyrnong River, pod of CarpCarp in the duck pond inHerbert Park, Dublin, carpKoi inChinese Garden Zürich, Switzerland

Common carp have been introduced, sometimes illegally, to mostcontinents and some 59countries. Due to their fecundity and their feeding habit of grubbing through bottom sediments for food, they are notorious for altering their environments. In feeding, they may destroy, uproot, disturb and eat submerged vegetation, causing serious damage to native duck, such ascanvasbacks, and fish populations.[19] Similar to thegrass carp, the vegetation they consume is not completely digested, and rots after excretion, raising the nutritional level of the water and causing exsessivealgae growth. They destroy nests of other fish and eat their eggs, reducing their numbers significantly.

Efforts to eradicate a small colony fromTasmania‘s Lake Crescent without using chemicals have been successful, but the long-term, expensive and intensive undertaking is an example of both the possibility and difficulty of safely removing the species once it is established.[citation needed] One proposal, regarded as environmentally questionable, is to control common carp by deliberate exposing them to carp-specificKoi herpes virus with its high mortality rate. InUtah Lake, the common carp’s population is expected to be reduced by 75% by using nets to catch millions of them and either give them to people who will eat them or processing them intofertilizer. This, in turn, will give the nativeJune sucker a chance to recover its declining population. Another method is by trapping them in tributaries they use to spawn withseine nets and exposing them torotenone. This method has shown to reduce their impact within 24 hours and greatly increase the native vegetation and desirable fish species. This also leaves the baby carp easily preyed upon by native fish.

In Australia, enormous anecdotal and mounting scientific evidence indicates introduced carp are the cause of permanent turbidity and loss of submergent vegetation in theMurray-Darling river system, with severe consequences for river ecosystems, water quality and native fish species.[20] InVictoria, Australia, common carp has been declared as noxious fish species, the quantity a fisher can take is unlimited.[21] InSouth Australia, it is an offence for this species to be released back to the wild.[22] An Australian company converts common carp into plant fertilizer.[23]

Common carp were brought to theUnited States in 1831.[24] In the late 19th century, they were distributed widely throughout the country by the government as a food-fish, but they are no longer prized as a food-fish. As in Australia, their introduction has been shown to have negative environmental consequences,[25] and they are usually considered to be invasive species. Millions of dollars are spent annually by natural resource agencies to control common carp populations in the United States.[20]

Common carp are believed to have been introduced into the Canadian province ofBritish Columbia from Washington. They were first noted in theOkanagan Valley in 1912, as was their rapid growth in population. Carp are currently distributed in the lower Columbia (Arrow Lakes), lowerKootenay, Kettle (Christina Lake), and throughout the Okanagan system.[26]

As food and sport

See also:Carp caught with fly rod.A common carp was caught by anartificial fly,

Cyprinus carpio is the number one fish ofaquaculture. The annual tonnage of common carp, not to mention the other cyprinids, produced inChina alone exceeds the weight of all other fish, such as trout and salmon, produced by aquaculture worldwide. Roughly three million tonnes are produced annually, accounting for 14% of all farmed freshwater fish in 2002. China is by far the largest commercial producer, accounting for about 70% of carp production.[16] Carp is eaten in many parts of the world both when caught from the wild and raised inaquaculture. InCentral Europe, it is a traditional part of aChristmas Eve dinner. Many people inPoland,Germany,Czech Republic,Slovakia andHungary buy a live carp and bring it home three or two days before Christmas Eve. It is kept one or two days in abathtub, and then killed. Traditional Czech Christmas Eve dinner is thicksoup of carp’s head and offal,fried carp meat withpotato salad or boiled carp in black sauce. In some Czech families, the carp is not killed, but after Christmas returned to a river or pond. Slovak Christmas Eve dinner is quite similar with soup varying according to the region and fried carp as the main dish. InWestern Europe, the carp is cultured more commonly as a sport fish, although there is a small market as food fish.[27][28] Carp are mixed with other common fish to makegefilte fish, popular inJewish cuisine.

Common carp are extremely popular withanglers in many parts of Europe, and their popularity as quarry is slowly increasing among anglers in the United States (though destroyed as pests in many areas), and southern Canada. Carp are also popular with spear, bow, and fly fishermen.

The Romans farmed carp and this pond culture continued through the monasteries of Europe and to this day. In China, Korea and Japan, carp farming took place as early as theYayoi Period (c. 300 BC – 300 AD).[29]

Carp eggs used forcaviar is an increasing popularity in theUnited States.[citation needed]

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