Black Carp are elongated, laterally compressed and have a pointed head with flattened anterior portion and small toothless mouth. Their body is brown to black in colour and bluish-grey to white on the belly with a keel from the pelvic fins to the anal fin. The fins are darker brownish-black or black with lighter hues at the base and large cycloid scales have dark edges giving a cross-hatched appearance.
Black Carp prefer habitats in the lower reaches of rivers and lakes with spawning occurring in areas of high turbulence.
Young Black Carp feed primarily on zooplankton and later on insect larvae and detritus. Adult Black Carp feed primarily on mollusks using their pharyngeal (throat) teeth to crush the shells. Current knowledge of the species suggests however that Black Carp would not be effective in controlling Zebra Mussel populations.
Black Carp reach maturity in 6-11 years and can grow to 35 kilograms and 1.8 metres in length.
Illustration © Joseph Tomelleri
Origin: Large rivers and lakes in eastern Asia from southern Russia to southern China and Vietnam.
Diet: Young feed primarily on zooplankton and later on insect larvae and detritus. Adults feed on mollusks.
Life Span: 15 years
Size: Maximum: 35 kg, 1.8 meters
Did You Know?
Scales on the back and sides are outlined by pigment giving a cross-hatched effect.
Size Relative to 6ft Man:
Spread of Black Carp (1994 – Present)
Map courtesy of the United States Geological Survey