To many carp fish familiar not only externally, but also in taste. This is a rather large-sized and often found freshwater inhabitant. Karp is beautiful, like a knight in armor, he is covered with large, golden scales that shimmer in the sun.
Amateur fishermen are always incredibly happy to catch him, and gourmet connoisseurs will never refuse to taste delicious and healthy fish meat. Let us analyze the life of this interesting fish, having studied its external features, habits, disposition and other important features.
Origin of view and description
Photo: Carp Fish
Carp is a representative of the class of ray-finned fish, belonging to the family of cyprinids. Disputes regarding the origin of carp do not subside to this day. There are two versions about this, contradicting one another.
The first of them says that carp were bred artificially in China, using the genetics of wild carp for its breeding. This fish was considered very honorable even at the court of the Chinese emperor and other nobles. Gradually, through river channels and with the help of seafarers, carp spread throughout Europe. In Greek, the name “carp” itself means “harvest” or “fertility”. Carp, in truth, is very prolific, so it spread widely over many rivers and lakes in Europe, then came to the UK, and in the nineteenth century it was registered on the North American continent.
The second version completely refutes the first, considering it only a myth. According to her, such fish as wild carp have long been found in rivers and lakes, differing in their shapes. Carp living in running water had an elongated, torpedo-shaped trunk, and in a standing one it was more circular, wide and obese. It is believed that it was the lake carp that was inhabited by humans throughout Europe, North America and Asia. Less than two centuries ago, breeding improvements of this variety were started, developing the latest breeds and all kinds of hybrids.
Based on this theory, the name "carp" has no scientific background, and appeared only in the 19th century in the book of Sergei Aksakov about fishing. So the Bashkirs called wild carp, which in Turkic means "silt fish", this name is widespread among the people, but ichthyologists believe that wild and domestic carps are one and the same species.
Carps are divided not only into river and lake (pond), but also into separate varieties, including:
Their main distinguishing features are the color and location of the scales. The scaly carp is covered with large scales. The framework has scales only on the ridge and belly. The scales of the mirror carp are very large and are located in places (usually along the lateral line of the fish). The bare carp does not have scales at all, but in size it is the largest, followed by the size of a mirror, and then - scaly.
Appearance and features
Photo: Carp fish in water
Common carp can be easily recognized by many parameters:
- a large, thick, slightly elongated body;
- thick large scales with dark bordering, along the lateral line of the fish, there are from 32 to 41 scales;
- the sides of the fish are golden, slightly brownish, the thick belly has a lighter tone;
- carp - the owner of a large mouth that stretches into a tube;
- the upper lip is decorated with four short antennae, which are very sensitive;
- the eyes of the fish are set high, have small pupils bordered by a greenish-golden iris;
- the powerful fish ridge has a dark shade and a gray-olive-colored notched fin with a spiny ray, the anal fin is short and also with a spike;
- carp nostrils are doubled.
Mucus envelops the entire body of the carp, preventing friction, regulating body temperature, protecting from all kinds of parasites. Carp is very large and very weighty. It is reliably known that specimens with a mass of more than half a centner and a length of more than one and a half meters were caught. Such sizes are very rare, usually carps from one to five kilograms come across, their age varies from two to seven years. In general, carp can be ranked among long-livers, nature has measured a considerable life span of up to 50 years, and some decorative species can survive for more than a century.
Interesting fact: One seventy-year-old Japanese has a carp that he inherited, who is 35 years older than his master. The owner carefully looks after his beloved pet, not agreeing to sell it even for fabulous amounts.
Where does the carp live?
Photo: Carp fish in Russia
The range of carp settlement is very extensive; it can be found in Europe, the Far East, Near and Central Asia, and the North American continent. Carp is thermophilic, therefore avoids the northern regions.
In our country, he took a fancy to the fresh waters of the following marine basins:
She loves water carp, where there is absolutely no current, or it is too weak, likes to settle in lakes, ponds, flooded quarries, reservoirs and canals. Paradise place for carp - a reservoir where there are a lot of all kinds of vegetation and a soft (sandy, silty, clay) bottom. Typically, fish live at a depth of two to ten meters. Shelters that protect the carp are very important for him, so he will avoid open areas where the bottom is completely flat. Carp prefers secluded pits, dense thickets, sunken snags.
In general, carp is not particularly pretentious, for him the main thing is the availability of food, in itself it is quite hardy. Apparently, therefore, this mustachioed aquatic inhabitant has spread so widely everywhere and feels great.
Interesting fact: Due to the unpretentiousness of the carp and its disregard for the level of contamination of the reservoir, the care of the fish only about the presence of feed, it is called a water pig.
What does the carp eat?
Photo: Carp family fish
Carp can be called very gluttonous and omnivorous. He eats both animal and vegetable foods with pleasure. Moreover, the first is preferred in spring and autumn, and the second - in the summer. Carp quickly grows in size, so it needs a lot of food, the fish’s stomach is designed so that it can eat almost without stopping.
Carp menu consists of:
- fish and frog caviar;
- all kinds of insects and their larvae;
- shoots of aquatic vegetation;
- young reeds.
Mature and large specimens eat other fish, do not disdain frogs and crayfish. There are cases when large carps wanted to capture birds that catch aquatic insects. Wandering in the underwater kingdom in search of snacks, the mustachioed create large bubbles on the surface of the water, thereby revealing themselves.
Often in reeds you can hear something like a champ, this is a carp to feast on reed shoots, cleverly biting them with pharyngeal teeth. On the teeth of carps, even strong shells of snails and crayfish. If there is nothing more tasty, carp can eat mucus from plants, and also does not disdain manure, which it finds in cattle watering places.
Carp bred in captivity is fed with corn, bread, and specialized compound feed containing fiber, fats and proteins. The quality of meat often suffers from such a menu, enriched with antibiotics, a variety of dyes, flavors and growth accelerators. This is how diverse the diet of carps is, which in search of delicious spend most of their lives.
An interesting fact: Cannibalism did not bypass the family of cyprinids, so a larger representative may well have a bite with his small-sized immediate family.
Features of character and lifestyle
Photo: Carp Fish
Carp prefers collective life, therefore it unites in flocks, only too large specimens can be single, but they also stay close to fellow tribesmen. With the onset of cold weather, the Bolsheviks join the team to make it easier to winter together. For wintering, carps are immersed in secluded pits located at the bottom, where they fall into a kind of drowsiness. If there are no holes in the pond, then the baleen look for impassable snags for wintering, where they settle, and the mucus enveloping them helps the carps not freeze.
Carps awaken with the onset of spring, when the water begins to gradually warm, the fish begins to show its activity towards the end of March, in April. Wintering is left and carps rush to a shallower depth (from 4 to 6 meters) to find something edible. Carp is a settled fish; it does not swim away from its permanent locations. Young carps move in flocks, usually in thickets of reeds, and weighty relatives prefer depth, floating to the surface only to refresh themselves.
Carp loves shady impassable places, and avoids open sunny spaces. Swarms do not swim whole, but form a string, where fish of different ages are present. Carps do not differ in aggressiveness, therefore they can be considered calm and peaceful aquatic inhabitants. It is very interesting to watch the carp jumping high enough out of the water and then flopping back loudly.
This phenomenon often occurs at dawn or in the evening hours and looks very exciting. Ichthyologists believe that such a flock gives a sign that it is going to feed, and if the jumps are too frequent, then this is a sign that the weather will get worse soon. Carp for any fisherman is a very welcome trophy, fishing enthusiasts claim that this fish is very careful, strong and smart. The carp has a sharp scent that allows you to smell bait or prey from afar.
Interesting fact: Carp, using gills, filter out food that he does not like, so he is a real gourmet.
The carp’s vision is also excellent, it perfectly recognizes various colors, and its view is circular, i.e. the fish can see 360 degrees, even its own tail will not hide from its eyes. In the dark, the carp orientates remarkably and can easily move around, monitoring the environment. This is how savvy and difficult carp is, therefore, catching a large mustachioed is not easy.
Social structure and reproduction
Photo: Carp River Fish
Carps become sexually mature closer to three or five years of age, both males and females. Reproduction of carp is dependent not only on its age, but also on the temperature of the water and the size of the fish itself. Carp is thermophilic, therefore it spawns closer to the end of May, when the water has already been warmed up significantly. For successful reproduction, the length of the male should be at least 30 cm, and the female should be at least 37.
The carp chooses a place for spawning shallow (about two meters), usually this occurs in reeds. It is difficult to find such places, so the fish return to them several times.
An interesting fact: Carps do not differ in swan fidelity, therefore, the female always has several gentlemen (up to five), who begin to fertilize. The peak of carp spawning begins at dusk (after the sun sets) and lasts about 12 hours.
Carps are indeed very prolific. Only one mature female can produce a whole million eggs, which are toasted in portions for several days. The incubation period is only three to six days, then larvae appear that feed on the contents of the yolk sac for two to three days. Then, fry starting to swim, eat zooplankton and the smallest crustaceans, actively developing. Closer to six months of age, carp can already weigh about 500 grams. The carp are growing and developing at such an enormously fast pace.
Natural enemies of carps
Photo: Freshwater carp fish
Although the carp grows large enough, he has enemies and competitors, so he is always extremely careful. Of course, the most vulnerable are not large individuals lying at the bottom, but fry and eggs. Green frogs pose a great threat to them, who love to feast on eggs and fry. Only one frog individual during the day can absorb up to one hundred thousand fry and eggs. In addition to frogs, crayfish, worms, other fish and many other inhabitants of the underwater kingdom will never give up caviar. It often happens that caviar is nailed to the shore, where it dries up, or birds peck at it, other animals eat it.
Do not forget that carps are no stranger to cannibalism, so an older relative without remorse can eat his lesser brother. In reservoirs where predatory fish live, carp can be a good snack for large pike or catfish. The fry love to feed aground, so there they can be caught by some animals who are not averse to tasting fish. For small specimens, birds (gulls, terns) hunting for fish can be dangerous; young growth often suffers from their raids.
Of course, one cannot fail to mention a person who can also be ranked among the enemies of the carp. This type of fish is very popular among amateur fishermen who have long carefully studied its habits and taste preferences. Catching a weighty specimen is not an easy task, but the unbridled appetite of the mustachioed often plays against himself. It can be noted with confidence that if it were not for the different living creatures that absorb caviar and fry of carp, then this fish could fill a huge number of rivers and other water bodies.
Population and species status
Photo: Big Carp
The distribution range of carp is very extensive, and its population is quite numerous, this fish fully lives up to its name, being distinguished by its highest fecundity. Carp is very hardy, unpretentious to the environment, almost omnivorous, so it easily takes root in various reservoirs. Now there are more and more fish farms that breed carps artificially, because it is very profitable, because wonderful fish breed, and gaining weight very rapidly.
It can be noted with confidence that this fish does not experience any threats to its existence, its population is very vast, the carp reproduces at an enormous rate, therefore it does not cause any concern among scientists, it is not under special protection anywhere. It is good that there are many constraining factors that control its abundance (eggs and fry are eaten by all kinds of animals, fish, birds and insects), otherwise he would have strongly stocked up many water bodies and quickly bred into them.
So, the carp population does not experience any jumps downward, this fish is very popular among gourmets, many people like carp meat, so a huge number of different dishes can be prepared from it. Artificially raising this fish for further sale is very profitable, because it grows rapidly and actively multiplies.
In the end, I want to add that carp fish it captivates not only with its excellent taste, but also with a rather noble, beautiful, golden appearance, the solidity of which is given by a small antennae. Now we know that this very large fish has a very calm and peaceful character, a rather meek disposition. Watching the virtuoso pirouettes that the carp performs by jumping high out of the water is an unforgettable pleasure. And if someone managed to see this, then he is a real lucky one.