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What is a Silver Carp?

Alex Paul
Alex Paul

Silver carp is a species of fish native to the Northern regions of Asia. The fish is part of a group known as filter feeders, which means that it gets food by filtering out nutrition from particles or objects suspended in the water. Although the fish was originally from Asia, it has been introduced into a number of countries, for a variety of different reasons. It is thought that more silver carp fish are grown for food than any other species in the world.

As the name suggests, silver carp have a silver body. This is especially pronounced when the fish is young, but with age the scales begin to turn a greener shade. The fish’s jaw doesn’t contain any teeth. Silver carp can grow to a size of around 3 feet (about 1 meter), and can weigh more than 100 pounds (about 45 kg).

Veterinarian with a puppy
Veterinarian with a puppy

Natively, the fish is found in most major waterways of North and North East Asia. It has been introduced into the US, but it sometimes causes problems with other species. When the population of silver carp becomes too large, for example, it competes with and damages the existing native fish populations.

Silver carp are freshwater fish. Typically, they don’t begin to breed until they reach maturity, about three years after birth. They can spawn during most of the summer, but require a temperature of at least 64 degrees Fahrenheit (about 18 degrees Celsius). In order to breed, the fish migrate upstream in a small school of up to 20.

The fish are known for their ability to filter very small particles from the water. Usually, the fish live off plankton, although they are also known to eat vegetation. As the fish eats plankton, the species have sometimes been purposefully introduced in specific areas to control the quality of the water.

A consequence of the silver carp being a filter feeder is that it isn’t usually possible to catch it using regular fishing methods. There are techniques, however, that allow the fish to be caught. One example uses a ball of food that contains a number of hooks. These hooks gradually disperse, providing a greater chance of catching the fish.

The silver carp is also known as the jumping carp. This is in reference to the fish’s tendency to jump out of the water when scared or disturbed, which can be a hazard to fishermen. The fish belongs to the Cyprinidae family, and the Hypophthalmic genus.

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      Veterinarian with a puppy