Silver Carp are also known as “flying carp” because they can leap 3 metres (8-9 feet) or more out of the water when startled by boat engines. This poses a hazard for anglers, boaters and other recreational users. They are a schooling species and can be found grouped in large numbers.
Silver Carp are deep-bodied with a moderately large and broad head encompassing just under 1/3 of their body size. They have a toothless upturned lower jaw and eyes are located below the axis of the body. Their body is silver with a slate gray head and dorsal surface and white belly with a keel extending from the anal fin to the throat. Silver Carps are closely related to Bighead Carps and have been known to hybridize (cross-breed) with that specie and produce viable, reproductive offspring.
Silver Carp prefer habitats in the standing waters of rivers, canals and lakes tolerating water temperatures from 6-28⁰C.
Silver carp feed primarily on phytoplankton and can out-compete many native fish juveniles. They can efficiently strain suspended material from the water with specialized gill rakers that resemble sponge-like plates. Like the Bighead Carp, Silver Carp lack a true stomach which requires them to feed almost continuously.
Silver Carp mature in 2-4 years and commonly weigh 9 kg but can reach a maximum size of 40 kg.
Illustration © Joseph Tomelleri
Origin: Large rivers, canals and lakes in eastern Asia from southern Russia and North Korea to southern China.
Life Span: 15-20 years
Size: Maximum: 40 kg, 1.2 meters
Did You Know?
- Also known as "flying carp" because they can leap 3 metres (8-9 feet) or more out of the water when startled by boat engines.
- Lacks a true stomach which requires them to feed almost continuously.
Size Relative to 6ft Man:
Bow hunting for Silver Carp in the Illinois River, near Peoria Illinois.
Spread of Silver Carp (1994 – Present)
Map courtesy of the United States Geological Survey