E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Cyprinus carpio Linnaeus, 1758
Common Carp
Family: Cyprinidae
Photo of species

© Bronwen Lewis  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #82529)

Click on the map to view a larger version.
Source: Distribution map provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC
E-Fauna's interactive maps for fish are not yet available.

Species Information

Dorsal spines (total): 3 - 4; Dorsal soft rays (total): 17 - 23; Anal spines: 2 - 3; Anal soft rays: 5 - 6; Vertebrae: 36 - 37. Pharyngeal teeth 1, 1, 3:3, 1,1, robust, molar-like with crown flattened or somewhat furrowed. Scales large and thick. `Wild carp ' is generally distinguished by its less stocky build with height of body 1:3.2-4.8 in standard length. Very variable in form, proportions, squamation, development of fins, and color. Caudal fin with 3 spines and 17-19 rays (Ref. 2196). Last simple anal ray bony and serrated posteriorly; 4 barbels; 17-20 branched dorsal rays; body grey to bronze (Ref. 43281). Also Ref. 3398, 3410.

Source: FishBase. Kottelat, M. 1997 European freshwater fishes. Biologia 52, Suppl. 5:1-271.


Species Biology

Occur at a temperature range of 3-35°C. Hardy and tolerant of a wide variety of conditions but generally favor large water bodies with slow flowing or standing water and soft bottom sediments. Adult carp typically are found in quiet, warm, eutrophic waters (i.e., the shallows of lakes and sluggish, soft-bottomed streams and sloughs. Thrives in large turbid rivers. They are omnivorous, feeding mainly on aquatic insects, crustaceans, annelids, mollusks, weed and tree seeds, wild rice, aquatic plants and algae; mainly by grubbing in sediments. Spawn in spring and summer, laying sticky eggs in shallow vegetation. A female 47 cm in length produces about 300,000 eggs. Young are probably preyed upon by northern pike, muskellunge, and largemouth bass. Adults uproot and destroy submerged aquatic vegetation and therefore may be detrimental to duck and native fish populations.

Source: FishBase. Kottelat, M. 1997 European freshwater fishes. Biologia 52, Suppl. 5:1-271.


BC Distribution and Notes

The common carp. This Eurasian species first appeared in Okanagan Lake in 1917 and reached the Fraser system (southern Shuswap drainages) by 1928. It is now well established in these systems. Primarily freshwater but two marine occurrences documented in Hart (1973) (Gillespie pers. comm. 2011).

Source: Information provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC.
Global Distribution

Europe to Asia: Europe, Russia, China, India and South-East Asia. One of the first species to be introduced into other countries and now attains global distribution. Inland aquaculture and capture fisheries contributions proved to be very significant. A reophilic wild population in the Danube is assumed to be the origin of the European species.

Source: FishBase. Kottelat, M. 1997 European freshwater fishes. Biologia 52, Suppl. 5:1-271.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
ExoticSNAExoticNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2022-08-07 9:09:21 AM]
Disclaimer: The information contained in an E-Fauna BC atlas pages is derived from expert sources as cited (with permission) in each section. This information is scientifically based.  E-Fauna BC also acts as a portal to other sites via deep links.  As always, users should refer to the original sources for complete information.  E-Fauna BC is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of the original information.

© E-Fauna BC 2021: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography, UBC