Common Carp

The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a large, omnivorous fish native to Europe and Asia. It has been introduced to many other parts of the world, including the United States, where it is considered an invasive species.

Common Carp Cyprinus carpio
Body shapeHeavy-bodied, deep and torpedo-shaped
ScalesLarge and cover the entire body
FinsReddish in color, no true spine
Mouth positionSubterminal with one barbel on each side
HabitatEutrophic waters in lakes and large rivers
Feed behaviorOmnivorous, feeding on plants, algae, invertebrates and other fish
DietFreshwater mussels, aquatic plants, insects, crustaceans, fish eggs…
ReproductionSpawns in spring or early summer in shallow water with vegetation
SizeUp to 48 in length and 80 pounds in weight
Life spanUp to 20 years+ some reaching 40+
Conservation statusVulnerable (IUCN) but also invasive in many regions
States they are found inAll states except Alaska and Hawaii

Common carp are large, hardy fish that can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions. They are bottom-feeders and eat a variety of plants, insects, and other small organisms. They can grow to be very large, with the current world record weighing over 40 pounds.

Common carp are considered an invasive species in the United States because they compete with native fish for food and habitat. They also uproot aquatic plants and stir up sediment, which can cloud the water and make it difficult for other fish to see.

The average weight of a common carp varies depending on the location. In the United States, they typically weigh between 2 and 10 pounds. The largest common carp ever caught in the United States was a 42-pound fish caught in Illinois in 2017.

Common carp are found in all 50 states in the United States. They are most common in the eastern and midwestern states, but they can also be found in the western states.

Here are some additional facts about common carp:

  • They are a popular food fish in many parts of the world.
  • They are used in aquaculture and are also raised in private ponds.
  • They are a popular sport fish in some areas.
  • They are considered a nuisance in some areas because they can uproot aquatic plants and stir up sediment.
  • They are an invasive species in some parts of the world, including the United States.

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