Department of Natural Resources
common carp Cyprinus carpio
carp may grow to a maximum size of 48 inches and over 80 pounds. The
average weight, however, is two to five pounds. This fish may live eight
to 15 years. Two barbels (whisker-like projections) are present at each
side of the mouth. The front of the dorsal and anal fins contains a spine
with saw-like projections. The dorsal fin is long. The upper body is olive
while the caudal and anal fins are reddish. Teeth are present in the throat.
carp may be found statewide in Illinois. It lives in rivers, lakes and
ponds. It is often found near brush piles and weedy areas in the water.
The common carp is active in the evening and morning. It reaches maturity
when a length of 12 to 15 inches is attained, usually at the age of about
three years. Spawning occurs April through August. The female deposits
over 50,000 sticky eggs over submerged objects. Eggs hatch in 12 days.
No parental care is given to eggs or young. The common carp eats both
plant and animal material (insect larvae) it finds as it roots in mud
on the bottom. It may feed in water so shallow that part of its back sticks
out. A native of Asia, the common carp was brought to America in 1876.
It was introduced to Illinois in 1879.
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