10 20 40 60 cm
mittakaava > 60 cm
Wilhelm von Wright: Pohjolan kalat, Lauri Urho, Jouko Lehmuskallio, Petri Savola (Uudenmaan ympäristökeskus). All rights reserved.
- Family: Carps and minnows – Cyprinidae
- Similar species: crucian carp, prussian carp, tench
- Size: 35–60 cm, 1–3 kg, max. up to 18 kg.
- Appearance: A stockily built fish with a deep body, though not as deep as the lake crucian carp, which it closely resembles. Carp caught in ponds are always much larger than crucian carp from the same water, which seldom reach 15 cm in length. The carp is also distinguished from its crucian and Prussian cousins by the shape of its long dorsal fin, the leading edge being angular, while that of the other two is more rounded. A characteristic feature of the carp is the two pairs of barbels, the upper pair small and barely noticeable, the lower pair long and prominent. Tench and gudgeon also have barbels, but these two species differ from the carp in other respects: the tench with its short dorsal fin and tiny scales. Several forms of carp are known, distinguished by their scales – or lack thereof. Most frequently encountered is the fully-scaled carp, the scales being quite large and numbering 33–40 along the lateral line. The mirror carp has a scattering of very large, plate-like scales. Yet another form has a continuous row of high, narrow scales along the side, while the leather carp has no scales at all.
- Colouring: Back and fins generally dark, sides copper or gold.
- Reproduction: Carp breed when the water temperature exceeds 14 degrees. Carp born naturally in Finland do not grow fast enough to survive their first winter. All Finland’s carp have been planted either as yearlings or as 2-summer fish weighing 100–200 g.
- Food: Bottom organisms and vegetation.
- Distribution and habitat: Introduced in numerous waters in Finland. Thrives in eutrophic lakes and along the shores of southern Finland, also successfully introduced in some places further north. Tolerant of a wide variety of conditions, including low oxygen levels and acidification. Prefers warm waters.
- Harmfulness: Locally harmful invasive species.
Carp are the world’s oldest cultivated fish. Known to have been cultivated in China over 2,000 years ago, the art of carp farming was spread in Europe by the Romans. From cultivation ponds, carp have spread widely to natural waters. The carp introduced in Finland are the ancient pond-cultivated variety. In Finland regarded as a fish for highly eutrophic waters, as it grows much faster than other cyprinids, putting on as much as a kilogram a year! Also an excellent fish for the table, but should be kept in spring water for several days before killing.