is a common name for various freshwater fish
of the family Cyprinidae
, a very large group of fish originally from Eurasia and southeast Asia. Some consider all cyprinid fishes carp and the family Cyprinidae itself is often known as the carp family. In colloquial use, however, 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, as well as popular ornamental fishes (see koi
). As a result, carp have been introduced to various locations, though with mixed results.
Carp, along with many of their cyprinid relatives, are popular ornamental aquarium and pond fish. The two most notable ornamental carps are goldfish and koi. Goldfish (Carassius auratus) were kept as ornamental fish in China for hundreds of years before being introduced to Japan in the 15th century, and to Europe in the late 17th century. The koi, a domesticated variety of common carp (Cyprinus carpio), also originated from China and spread widely in Japan. The koi are historically a prevalent symbol in Japanese culture of good luck. They are shown in competitive fish shows like those at the All-Japan exhibition. They are also popular in other parts of the world as pond fish. Goldfish and koi have advantages over most ornamental fishes, as they are tolerant of cold (they can survive in water temperatures as low as 4 degrees Celsius), and can survive at low oxygen levels.
As a Sport Fish
Carp are similarly variable in terms of angling value. In Europe, even when not fished for food, they are eagerly sought out by anglers, being considered highly prized coarse fish that are difficult to hook. In the United States, the carp is also classified as a rough fish
as well as damaging naturalized exotic species but with sporting qualities. Many states' departments of natural resources are beginning to view the carp as an angling opportunity instead of a maligned pest. Groups such as the Carp Anglers Group
and American Carp Society
have continued to promote the sport and are working hand in hand with fisheries departments to organize events to introduce and expose others to the unique opportunity the carp offers freshwater anglers. The American Carp Society held a tournament in March of 2006 in Austin Texas that paid out $275,000 to the winners.
Popular baits include canned corn and homemade doughballfishes live in ecosystems concoctions known as "boilies" in England.
Sir Isaac Walton said this about carp in his work The Compleat Angler "The Carp is the queen of rivers; a stately, a good, and a very subtil fish; that was not at first bred, nor hath been long in England, but is now naturalised."
However, in some countries, due to their habit of grubbing through bottom sediments for food and alteration of their environment, they destroy, uproot and disturb submerged vegetation causing serious damage to native duck and fish populations. In Australia there is enormous anecdotal and mounting scientific evidence that introduced carp are the cause of permanent turbidity and loss of submerged vegetation in the Murray-Darling river system, with severe consequences for river ecosystems, water quality and native fish species.
Types of carp
Carp feeding on algae from a hard surface (such as a dock pole, boat bottom, etc.) create a loud "tapping noise."