The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a widespread freshwater fish of eutrophic waters in lakes and large rivers in Europe and Asia. Common carp were brought to the United States in 1831. 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. Their introduction has been shown to have negative environmental consequences, 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.
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 in temperate climates in fresh or slightly brackish water with a pH of 6.5–9.0 and salinity up to about 0.5%, and temperatures of 3 to 35°C. 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. Carp are able to tolerate water with very low oxygen levels, by gulping air at the surface.
Common carp are omnivorous. They can eat a herbivorous diet of water plants, but prefer to scavenge the bottom for insects, crustaceans (including zooplankton), crawfish, and benthic worms.
Common carp are extremely popular with anglers 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.
|Maximum weight||(lb.)||≈ 33.00|