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Common Carp

(Cyprinus carpio)

The Common Carp is not a species of invasive Asian carp although it is native to Asia. It is included here for comparison. Common Carp were introduced to North America from non-native populations in Europe in the 1800s and are now widely distributed throughout eastern North America.

 Physical Description

They are deep-bodied and vary in colour from silver to olive-green with brass or grey on the back and sides. The belly is yellowish and lower fins are reddish-orange. The Common Carp has whisker-like appendages called barbels near the corners of its mouth. None of the four Asian carp species have these barbels, it is also important to note the long dorsal fin of the common carp. 

Preferred Habitat

Common Carp inhabit the Great Lakes from the upper St. Lawrence River to Lake Superior including many inland lakes and rivers.

Diet

Common Carp feed primarily on aquatic vegetation and easily adapt to a variety of conditions including clear to murky water. 

Size

Common Carp can weigh up to 40 kg and grow up to 1.2 metres.  On average Common Carp weigh 2 - 14 kg.

 

 

Common Carp

Illustration © Joseph Tomelleri

Fast Facts:



Origin: Native to Asia but introduced to Canada from non-native populations in Europe.

Diet: Aquatic Vegetation 

Life Span: 15-20 years  

Size: Maximum: 40 kg, 1.2 meters

Did You Know?

  • Easily adapt to a variety of conditions including clear to murky water.
  • Has whisker-like appendages called barbels near the corners of its mouth (two on each side).


Size Relative to 6ft Man:


Comparison of size between a common carp and a 6ft tall human


Net full of common carp


Spread of Common Carp (1830 – 2014)

Spread of Common Carp in America from 1830 to 2014

Map courtesy of the 

United States Geological Survey