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Carp According to the Wikipedia

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koi  )

The carp is a large group of fish originally found in Central Europe and Asia. Various carp species were originally domesticated in East Asia, where they were used as food fish. The ability of carp to survive and adapt to many climates and water conditions allowed the domesticated species to be propagated to many new locations including Japan. Natural color mutations of these carp would have occurred across all populations. Carp were first bred for color mutations in China more than a thousand years ago, where selective breeding of the Prussian carp (Carassius gibelio) led to the development of the goldfish.

Wild carp are typically slimmer than domesticated forms, with body length about four times body height (range, 3.2-4.8 times). Both European and Asian subspecies have been domesticated.

Physiology

Common carp can grow to a maximum length of 120 cm, a maximum weight of over 40 g, and an oldest recorded age of at least 65 years.

As a Food:

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. Carp are also popular with spear, bow, and fly fishermen. Carp is also eaten in many parts of the world both when caught from the wild and raised in aquaculture. In Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Poland, carp is a traditional part of a Christmas Eve dinner. Carp are mixed with other common fish to make gefilte fish, popular in Jewish cuisine.

The Romans farmed carp and this pond culture continued through the monasteries of Europe and to this day. In China and soon after in Japan carp farming took place as early as the Yayoi Period 300 B.C.

Introduction to North America:

Common carp were brought to the United States in 1831. In the late 1800s they were distributed widely throughout the country by the government as a foodfish. However, common carp are no longer prized as a foodfish in the United States. As in Australia, 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.

Due to their fecundity and their feeding habit of grubbing through bottom sediments for food they are notorious for altering their environment. In feeding, they may destroy, uproot and disturb submerged vegetation causing serious damage to native duck and fish populations.

Diet:

Common carp are omnivorous. They can eat a vegetarian diet of water plants, but prefer to scavenge the bottom for insects, crustaceans (including zooplankton), and benthic worms. Carp inhabiting water where Zebra Muscles are present are known to eat muscles as well.

Habitat

Although they are very tolerant of most conditions, common carp prefer large bodies of slow or standing water and soft, vegetative sediments. A schooling fish, they prefer to be in groups of 5 or more. They naturally live in a temperate climate in fresh or slightly brackish water with a pH of 6.5 - 9.0 and salinity up to about 5‰,

Koi were developed from common carp in ancient China in Jin Dynasty and was later transferred to Korea and Japan, and are still popular there because they are a symbol of love and friendship. A variety of colors and color patterns have since been developed; common colors include white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream. The most popular category of Carp are known as koi in Japan.

Of the various domesticated carp species, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) is one of he more commonly used in aquaculture. Common carp were first introduced into Japan y way of China between 400 to 600 years ago. Common carp were first bred for color in Japan


Big Head (Asian) Carp

US Fish and Wildlife Service / 2005

Bighead carp are restricted in many states because of their tolerance to survive in many habitat types and their ability to decrease phytoplankton (algae) and zooplankton populations, thereby competing with native fish. The concern is that the bighead carp will reach the Great Lakes where recreational and commercial fish feed on zooplankton at some stage in their life history. The species is a common food fish around the world, and grows quite large, longer than 1 meter.

Life History: Bighead carp can grow to lengths more than 1 meter and can grow to weigh as much as 40 kilograms.

Means and Time of Introduction: Bighead carp were first introduced in the United States in Arkansas in 1972 for the purpose of controlling algae in ponds. During flooding in 1994 bighead carp escaped from aquaculture farms and spread throughout the Mississippi basin including to the north. It is likely that bighead carp spread to the Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio Rivers. Media reports indicate that the introduction of bighead carp to the Great Lakes area could be next due to fish migration and/or the cultural practice where people release live carp into waterways.

Origin: Bighead carp are originally from China, and can be found in large populations in many rivers there, including the Yangtze and Han Rivers.

North American Distribution: Today bighead carp are reproducing in populations along the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio Rivers. Specimens have been reported in states as far reaching as California, Minnesota, and Florida.

Habitat: Bighead carp can occasionally tolerate salinities in the range of 6-12 parts per thousand. The preferred temperature for reproduction is about 25ºC, the maximum temperature in which bighead carp can survive is 38 ºC (USGS 2005). Bighead carp can survive temperatures down to nearly freezing, on the order of 1ºC. (ISSG 2005). Typically found in large rivers, bighead carp can also be found in smaller rivers and streams, as well as lakes and ponds (USGS 2005). Bighead carp are known to only spawn in moving water (ISSG 2005).

Ecological Impacts: Bighead carp were introduced because of their ability to decrease phytoplankton (algae) density in ponds although zooplankton are their preferred food.

Economic Consideration: As of 1995, the bighead carp was ranked fourth in worldwide production with a total of 2.8 billion pounds produced in that year. The species is commonly seen in live food fish markets in the northeast.