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Common Carp
Photo: Common Carp, Cyprinus carpio.
Common carp, Cyprinus carpio
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Where are they found? EuropeNorth America

Map of the world.


Common carp are usually 38 to 46 cm (15 to 18 in.) long. It is not unusual for some to grow to more than 100 cm (39 in.) and to reach 22 kg (48 lb.). Sometimes specimens have only a few large scales ("mirror carp") or none at all ("leather carp"). They have two pairs of barbels, which are the fleshy filaments that grow near their mouths and resemble a moustache.

Common carp frequent the shallow, warm waters of lakes and streams, even when the water is somewhat muddy or polluted.

Common carp feed on insect larvae, crustaceans, snails and plants. They uproot aquatic vegetation in search of this food. Not surprisingly, effective bait to catch them includes dough balls, potatoes or worms. The most effective method for catching them is still-fishing.

The common carp was introduced to North America from Europe.


More Images
Photo: Common Carp, Cyprinus carpio.


Golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas).

Meet the Relatives!

Meet golden shiner,
a member of
the carp and minnows family!


To cite this page for personal use:
“Common Carp”. [Online]. Natural History Notebooks. Canadian Museum of Nature.
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Illustration: Common Mola (Mola mola).

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Common mola, Atlantic cod and Atlantic hagfish: Added as part of our national Water Project.

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