Carp, common

(Cyprinus carpio)

Linnaeus, 1758; CYPRINIDAE FAMILY; also called carpe commune, carpa, Asian carp, karp, koi,

The carp's original range was limited to temperate Asia and the rivers of the Black Sea and Aegean basins, notably the Danube, in Europe. Today, they are widely distributed in North America below the 50th parallel south to the Florida panhandle. Besides North America, Europe, and Asia, it is also now found in South America, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

This is one of the largest members of the “minnow” family, Cyprinidae, and a close relative of the goldfish (Carassius auratus), with which it hybridizes freely in nature. The carps closest look alikes may be the bigmouth and smallmouth buffalos (Ictiobus cyprinellus and I. bubalus), which despite their resemblance to the carp, belong to an entirely different family, Catostomidae (the “sucker” family). The carp, the goldfish, and the buffalos all grow fairly large (the goldfish to about 16 inches; the carp and buffalos much larger); all have deep bodies; relatively small, protractile mouths; a forked tail; a single, long dorsal fin on the back; and large scales. The coloration of their bodies is also similar, ranging from olive brown to gold. Still, all these species can be quite easily distinguished. The carp and the goldfish both have a single serrated spine at the beginning of the dorsal and anal fins. All the fins are soft on the buffalos, with no spines at all, only soft rays. The carp has two fleshy barbels on each side of the mouth, distinguishing it from the goldfish, which lacks barbels.

It is very prolific, an excellent survivor and is able to tolerate a wide range of conditions and bottom types, therefore making it an excellent species for pond culture.

In Europe, where the carp is highly regarded, farmed, and selectively bred, cultivated carp (referred to as “king” carp as opposed to wild carp) come in a variety of body shapes and squamation patterns. They may be fully scaled, partially scaled (“mirror” carp), or completely nude (“leather” carp). They are still the same species and after a few generations in the wild, will revert to their normal wild form

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Current All Tackle Record

75 lbs. 11 ounces.

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