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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Carp (disambiguation).

Common carp, Cyprinus carpio

Carp are various species of oily[1] freshwater fish from the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of
fish native to Europe and Asia.


 1Biology
 2Species
 3Recreational fishing
 4Aquaculture
 5Breeding
 6As ornamental fish
 7As food
 8List of carp-based dishes
 9See also
 10References
 11External links

The cypriniformes (family Cyprinidae) are traditionally grouped with the Characiformes, Siluriformes,
and Gymnotiformes to create the superorder Ostariophysi, since these groups share some common
features. These features include being found predominantly in fresh water and possessing Weberian
ossicles, an anatomical structure derived from the first five anterior-most vertebrae, and their
corresponding ribs and neural crests. The third anterior-most pair of ribs is in contact with the
extension of the labyrinth and the posterior with the swim bladder. The function is poorly understood,
but this structure is presumed to take part in the transmission of vibrations from the swim bladder to
the labyrinth and in the perception of sound, which would explain why the Ostariophysi have such a
great capacity for hearing.[2]
Most cypriniformes have scales and teeth on the inferior pharyngeal bones which may be modified in
relation to the diet. Tribolodon is the only cyprinid genus which tolerates salt water. Several species
move into brackish water but return to fresh water to spawn. All of the other cypriniformes live in
continental waters and have a wide geographical range.[2]Some consider all cyprinid fishes carp[by
, and the family Cyprinidae itself is often known as the carp family. In colloquial use, carp usually
refers only to several larger cyprinid species such as Cyprinus carpio (common carp), Carassius
carassius (Crucian carp), Ctenopharyngodon idella (grass carp), Hypophthalmichthys molitrix (silver
carp), and Hypophthalmichthys nobilis (bighead carp). Carp have long been an important food fish to
humans. Several species such as the various goldfish breeds and the domesticated common carp
variety known as koi have been popular ornamental fishes. As a result, carp have been introduced to
various locations, though with mixed results. Several species of carp are listed as invasive species
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture,[3] and, worldwide, large sums of money are spent on carp
At least some species of carp are able to survive for months with practically no oxygen (for example
under ice) by metabolizing glycogen to form lactic acid which is then converted into ethanol and
carbon dioxide. The ethanol diffuses into the surrounding water through the gills.[5][6][7]

This article is part of a series on

Commercial fish

Large pelagic

 billfish
 bonito
 mackerel
 salmon
 shark
 tuna


 anchovy
 herring
 menhaden
 sardine
 shad
 sprat

 cod
 eel
 flatfish
 pollock
 ray


 carp
 tilapia

 v
 t
 e

[hide]Some prominent carp in the family Cyprinidae

Max Commo Max Ma Fis

Common lengt n weig x h FA ITI IUCN
Scientific name c
name h length ht age Bas O S status
(cm) (cm) (kg) (yr) e

Silver Hypophthalmichthys Nea

[8] [9] [10]
molitrix(Valenciennes, 105 18 50 2.0 r
1844) threatened[1

Common Cyprinus [12] [13] [14]

110 31 40.1 38 3.0
carp carpio Linnaeus, 1758 Vulnerable[

[16] [17] Not
Grass carp idella (Valenciennes, 150 10.7 45.0 21 2.0 assessed

Bighead Hypophthalmichthys
[18] [19]
nobilis (Richardson, 146 60 40.0 20 2.3 Data
1845) deficient[20]
Crucian Carassius
carassius (Linnaeus, 64 15 3.0 10 3.1 [21] [22] Lea
carp st

Cyprinus [24] [25] Not
carp (Indi 182 38.6 2.8 assessed
catla (Hamilton, 1822)
an carp)

Mrigal Cirrhinus
[26] [27]
cirrhosus (Bloch, 100 40 12.7 2.5
carp Vulnerable[
1795) 28]

Black Mylopharyngodon
[29] [30] Not
piceus (Richardson, 122 12.2 35 13 3.2 assessed

[31] [32]
Mud Carp molitorella (Valencien 55.0 15.2 0.50 2.0
nes, 1844) 15]

Recreational fishing[edit]

An angler with 17 kg (37 lb) mirror carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Main article: Carp fishing

In 1653 Izaak Walton wrote in The Compleat Angler, "The Carp is the queen of rivers; a stately, a
good, and a very subtle fish; that was not at first bred, nor hath been long in England, but is now
Carp are variable in terms of angling value.

 In Europe, even when not fished for food, they are eagerly sought by anglers, being considered
highly prized coarse fish that are difficult to hook.[33] The UK has a thriving carp angling market. It
is the fastest growing angling market in the UK, and has spawned a number of specialised carp
angling publications such as Carpology,[34] Advanced carp fishing, Carpworld and Total Carp,
and informative carp angling web sites, such as Carpfishing UK.[35]
 In the United States, carp are also classified as a rough fish, as well as damaging to naturalized
exotic species, but with sporting qualities. Carp have long suffered from a poor reputation in the
United States as undesirable for angling or for the table, especially since they are typically an
invasive species out-competing more desirable local game fish. Nonetheless, many states'
departments of natural resources are beginning to view the carp as an angling fish instead of a
maligned pest. Groups such as Wild Carp Companies,[36] American Carp Society,[37] and the Carp
Anglers Group[38] promote the sport and work with fisheries departments to organize events to
introduce and expose others to the unique opportunity the carp offers freshwater anglers.


Aquaculture production of cyprinids by species in million tonnes, 1950–2010, as reported by the FAO.[39]

See also: Aquaculture in China

Various species of carp have been domesticated and reared as food fish across Europe and Asia for
thousands of years. These various species appear to have been domesticated independently, as the
various domesticated carp species are native to different parts of Eurasia. Aquaculture has been
pursued in China for at least 2,400 years. A tract by Fan Li in the fifth century BC details many of the
ways carp were raised in ponds.[40] The common carp, Cyprinus carpio, is originally from Central
Europe.[41] Several carp species (collectively known as Asian carp) were domesticated in East Asia.
Carp that are originally from South Asia, for example catla (Gibelion catla), rohu (Labeo rohita) and
mrigal (Cirrhinus cirrhosus), are known as Indian carp. Their hardiness and adaptability have
allowed domesticated species to be propagated all around the world.
Although the carp was an important aquatic food item, as more fish species have become readily
available for the table, the importance of carp culture in Western Europe has become less important.
Demand has declined, partly due to the appearance of more desirable table fish such
as trout and salmon through intensive farming, and environmental constraints. However, fish
production in ponds is still a major form of aquaculture in Central and Eastern Europe, including
the Russian Federation, where most of the production comes from low or intermediate-intensity
ponds. In Asia, the farming of carp continues to surpass the total amount of farmed fish volume of
intensively sea-farmed species, such as salmon and tuna.[42]

The major traditional aquaculture carp of China

Black carp

Grass carp

Silver carp

Bighead carp

Selective breeding programs for the common carp include improvement in growth, shape, and
resistance to disease. Experiments carried out in the USSR used crossings of broodstocks to
increase genetic diversity, and then selected the species for traits such as growth rate, exterior traits
and viability, and/or adaptation to environmental conditions such as variations in
temperature.[43][44] selected carp for fast growth and tolerance to cold, the Ropsha carp. The results
showed a 30 to 77.4% improvement of cold tolerance, but did not provide any data for growth rate.
An increase in growth rate was observed in the second generation in Vietnam,[45] Moav and
Wohlfarth (1976) showed positive results when selecting for slower growth for three generations
compared to selecting for faster growth.[46] Schaperclaus (1962) showed resistance to the dropsy
disease wherein selected lines suffered low mortality (11.5%) compared to unselected (57%).[47]
The major carp species used traditionally in Chinese aquaculture are
the black, grass, silver and bighead carp. In the 1950s, the Pearl River Fishery Research Institute in
China made a technological breakthrough in the induced breeding of these carps, which has
resulted in a rapid expansion of freshwater aquaculture in China.[48] In the late 1990s, scientists at
the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences developed a new variant of the common carp called the
Jian carp. This fish grows rapidly and has a high feed conversion rate. Over 50% of the total
aquaculture production of carp in China has now converted to Jian carp.[48][49]

As ornamental fish[edit]

Goldfish and other carp from Fish Swimming Amid Falling Flowers, a Song dynasty painting by Liu Cai (c.

Six different colored koi and a small koi

An unusual goldfish breed: An oranda-type variegated pearlscale.

Carp, along with many of their cyprinid relatives, are popular ornamental aquarium and pond fish.
Goldfish (Carassius auratus) were originally domesticated from the Prussian carp (Carassius
gibelio), a dark greyish-brown carp native to Asia. They were first bred for color in China over a
thousand years ago. Due to selective breeding, goldfish have been developed into many distinct
breeds, and are found in various colors, color patterns, forms and sizes far different from those of
the original carp. Goldfish were kept as ornamental fish in China for thousands of years before being
introduced to Japan in 1603, and to Europe in 1611.[50]
Koi are a domesticated subspecies of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that have been selectively
bred for color. The common carp was introduced from China to Japan, where selective breeding of
the common carp in the 1820s in the Niigata region resulted in koi.[51] In Japanese culture, koi are
treated with affection, and seen as good luck. They are popular in other parts of the world as outdoor
pond fish.

As food[edit]
Packaged grass carp filletsfor sale

 Bighead carp is enjoyed in many parts of the world, but it has not become a popular foodfish in
North America. Acceptance there has been hindered in part by the name "carp", and its
association with the common carp which is not a generally favored foodfish in North America.
The flesh of the bighead carp is white and firm, different from that of the common carp, which is
darker and richer. Bighead carp flesh does share one unfortunate similarity with common carp
flesh – both have intramuscular bones within the filet. However, bighead carp captured from the
wild in the United States tend to be much larger than common carp, so the intramuscular bones
are also larger and thus less problematic.
 Common carp, breaded and fried, is part of traditional Christmas Eve dinner
in Slovakia, Poland and in the Czech Republic. In pond based water agriculture it is treated as
most prominent food fish.
 Crucian carp is considered the best-tasting pan fish in Poland. It is known as karaś, and is
served traditionally with sour cream (karasie w śmietanie).[52] In Russia, this particular species is
called Золотой карась meaning "golden crucian", and is one of the fish used in a borscht recipe
called borshch s karasej[53] (Russian: Борщ с карасе́й)or borshch s karasyami Russian: Борщ с
 Mud carp, due to the low cost of production, is mainly consumed by the poor, locally; it is mostly
sold alive, but can be dried and salted.[54] The fish is sometimes canned or processed as fish
cakes, fish balls,[55] or dumplings. They can be found for retail sale within China.[56]
 Chinese mud carp is an important food fish in Guangdong Province. It is also cultured in this
area and Taiwan. Cantonese and Shunde cuisines often use this fish to make fish
balls and dumplings. It can be used with douchi or Chinese fermented black beans in a dish
called fried dace with salted black beans. It can be served cooked with vegetables such
as Chinese cabbage.

List of carp-based dishes[edit]

 Fisherman's soup
 Kuai
 Taramosalata
 Masgouf, a popular Iraqi dish consisting of seasoned, grilled carp
 Gefilte fish, an Ashkenazi Jewish dish made from a poached mixture of ground deboned fish,
primarily carp, whitefish, and pike

Carp curry, India

Fried carp from Franconia, Germany

Pan-fried Crucian carp, Russia

Traditional Christmas dinner - fried carp with potato salad, Czech Republic

Stir-fried Crucian carp with rice, Japan

Carp fish in spices and herbs cooked in a banana leaf package, Sundanese

Deep-fried chunk of pickled (pla som) silver barb (Pla taphian)

Barbecued carp, northern Croatia

See also[edit]
 Asian Carp in Chinese culture
 Oily fish
 Rough fish

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