Almost everyone is familiar with such fish as crucian carp, because it is widely distributed in various water bodies. Fried crucians are not a delicacy at all, they can often be seen on the table. Everyone knows what crucian tastes like, but few know about its life, habits and customs. Let's try to study the lifestyle of this fish and learn interesting facts about it.
Origin of the species and description
The crucian carp belongs to the carp family and belongs to the class of ray-finned fish from the cyprinoid order. Its name comes from the old dialects of the German language and the true meaning of the word is unknown. This genus of fish is very widespread in various freshwater reservoirs. There are several varieties of crucian carp, to the description of which we will proceed.
Common (golden) crucian carp has a flat but rounded body shape. The fin located on the back is quite high and has a dark brown hue, like the tail. The remaining fins are smaller and have a reddish color. On the sides, the crucian carp is covered with large golden-copper scales, and its back is dark – brownish. The belly of the fish is painted in a light color compared to the ridge and sides. There are very large-sized specimens of this crucian, the weight of which reaches 5 kg, and the body length is up to half a meter.
This crucian spread throughout Europe, settling in:
- Great Britain;
This type of crucian also lives in China, Mongolia, in the Asian part of our country, choosing overgrown, swampy, muddy reservoirs.
The silver carp was at first an inhabitant of the rivers belonging to the Pacific basin, but since the middle of the last century it has been artificially settled on the North American continent, in India, Siberia, China, the Far East, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Belarus, Romania, Italy, Germany, Portugal. It is worth noting that in many places of new settlement, this crucian carp gradually replaced its golden relative, in comparison with which it is significantly inferior in size.
The mass of silver carp practically does not exceed three kilograms, and its largest length can reach 40 cm. The scale fish is large, painted in a silvery-grayish or grayish-green hue. It is very rare to find fish that have a golden or orange-pink color. All fins of this species of crucian carp are painted in a grayish-olive hue and are transparent.
The silver carp has a unique ability that allows it to adapt to the environment and change shape in accordance with it, thanks to this, people have developed a new variety called “goldfish”.
Goldfish has many subspecies numbering in the hundreds. Almost all of them are aquarium fish, the length of which varies from two to forty-five centimeters, and the bright colors are very diverse.
The shape of a goldfish can be:
- elongated (elongated);
In addition to differences in shapes and colors, this type of crucian differs in the size of its fins. The eyes of these fish can be both small and large, strongly protruding.
It is on goldfish that experiments are often performed necessary for scientific research, they are the first of the fish to have been in outer space.
The Japanese crucian carp lives in the Japanese and Taiwanese water spaces, the wild variety can be seen in the Japanese lake Biwa., The size of the crucian carp is from 35 to 40 cm. h2>
Having understood the individual features of each variety of crucian carp, it is worth giving a general description of the appearance of this very common fish. Outwardly, crucian carp is very similar to carp, this is not surprising, because they are members of the same family. When comparing them, the most important distinguishing feature is the head of a smaller size. The crucian's mouth is also smaller than that of a carp and does not protrude forward so much, it does not have a mustache.
The shape of the body of the crucian is oblong, but high, somewhat resembling a rhombus, the body of the fish is flattened on the sides. The large dorsal fin has a smooth outline. The fish is covered with smooth and large scales, the color of which varies in different species, but its most common colors are golden and silver. The fish spine is quite powerful and thickened.
In a small mouth opening there are single-row pharyngeal teeth. Basically, the eyes of the crucian carp are small. One of its differences is the presence of prickly notches on the anal and dorsal fins. The standard mass of crucian carp is from 200 to 500 grams, larger and heavier specimens are rarely found.
The life span of different types of crucian carp is different. Golden painting can be considered long-lived, it can live more than 12 years. Silver carp rarely survive the age of nine, although some manage to overcome this milestone and live for a couple more years, but this happens extremely rarely.
Where does the crucian live?
Don't be surprised the fact that crucian carp is so widely distributed throughout the globe, because it is very hardy and unpretentious. The activity of a person who settled it in many places artificially contributed to the widest range of crucian carp. This fish perfectly adapts to all kinds of ponds, lakes, rivers.
Ichthyologists have found that in swampy areas, underwater pits and with the accumulation of a large amount of silt, crucian feels most at ease and starts breeding much more actively. Only water bodies located in mountain ranges avoid crucian carp.
Under adverse conditions (excessive frosts, severe drought), crucian carp burrow deep into the silt (up to seventy centimeters) and successfully wait out all natural disasters there.
Carp did not bypass Italy, Poland, Portugal, Germany, Romania, Great Britain, Hungary, Kazakhstan, China, Belarus, Mongolia, Korea, where they live safely. This fish does not shun cold Siberian waters, having chosen Kolyma and Primorye. Carp can also be caught in the territories of Pakistan, India, the USA and Thailand.
As you can see, the geography of the settlement of crucian carp is very wide, it has a permanent residence permit in other countries not listed here. We can catch him almost everywhere, he feels great, both in the wild and in artificially created conditions. Fishing enthusiasts will undoubtedly confirm this.
The Chinese were the first to start artificial breeding of carp, this happened back in the distant seventh century AD.
What does crucian eat?
Crucian carp can be called an omnivorous aquatic inhabitant. Its menu is quite varied. Let's trace the taste preferences of fish, starting from the moment of birth. The fry that are born have a yolk sac with them, which remains with them after embryonic development, for nutrition they use the contents of this sac, which maintains their strength and energy.
Slightly matured crucians begin to feed on daphnia and blue-green algae. Closer to a month, bloodworms and larvae of various insects that live in the water appear in the diet of babies.
Mature fish have a richer and more varied menu. Their diet includes annelids and small crustaceans, all kinds of insect larvae. The roots and stems of coastal zone plants also serve as food for crucian carp. He likes to eat duckweed and various algae.
Anglers have long understood that crucian carp are not averse to eating all sorts of cereals:
The oily dough and the crumb of fish bread are real treats. The crucian's sense of smell is simply excellent, so he feels the variety of this or that bait from afar. It has been noticed that crucians like harsh and strong smells (for example, garlic), which fishermen use for their baits.
The lateral line of the crucian carp can be called an organ of its finest sensitivity, with the help of which the fish scans the water column, receiving data on the location of the prey, its dimensions, and the length of the distance to it. It also determines the presence of predatory ill-wishers.
From the fact that crucian carp did not like hornwort, it contains a lot of tannin, which repels insects and larvae, which crucian loves to eat.
Character and lifestyle features
The unpretentiousness and endurance of crucian carp are one of its most important features, thanks to which it has spread widely across all kinds of water bodies. The indicator of the level of oxygen in the water column is not as important for him as for the pike, so he can easily survive in the most severe winters in small lakes. a weak current, but where it is present, it also takes root. It should be noted that silver carp is more common in running water than its golden relative. But the latter has more endurance.
Silt, mud, dense coastal growth, duckweed – these are the attributes of a happy and carefree life of crucian carp, who adore reservoirs with all these sights. In the mud, the crucian finds food for itself, it can burrow into the mud with skill in order to wait out any danger or adverse climatic conditions, and the depth of its immersion in the muddy bottom can exceed half a meter. In general, crucian carp feel at ease where it is not easy for other fish to survive.
As already mentioned, the current is the enemy of the crucian, it knocks him out of his strength, adding sluggishness. And in this state, it is not difficult to become the dinner of some predator. Where the bottom is sandy or rocky, you will not meet this fish either, because in such places it is difficult for it to find food and there is almost nowhere to hide. In swampy and impassable, overgrown places, crucian carp breeds well and develops rapidly, often being the only fish in such reservoirs. Sometimes crucian carp appears where it did not live before, this is due to the fact that its eggs are carried on their feathers by birds that live on the water.
Although the crucian is a little clumsy and clumsy, its scent is simply amazing, it is able to catch the slightest smells at a very long distance. The highly sensitive lateral line of the crucian is also its important attribute, which helps to detect various objects in the water from afar, which often saves the crucian's life. The crucian carp are most active in the early morning or in the evening, in some places the crucian carp can be active at dusk. In general, crucian carp is a peaceful and calm fish, preferring not to enter into conflicts, but to lie low.
Social structure and reproduction
As for the social structure of crucians, these fish can be called schooling, although it happens that specimens that are rather solid in size prefer to live in complete solitude. Carp are sedentary and very cautious fish, but during the spawning period they can go to the nearest river tributaries.
Mature carp become closer to four or even five years of age. Usually, their spawning period falls on May-June, it all depends on how warm the water is, its temperature should be about 18 degrees with a plus sign. Spawning can take place several times a year. At this time, crucian carp are not interested in food at all, so catching this fish is useless.
To spawn, females move closer to the coast, where there is more vegetation. Spawning of crucian carp is multi-stage, takes place with ten-day breaks. One female can lay up to three hundred thousand eggs. All of them have excellent stickiness and cling to aquatic plants.
Crucian caviar has a light yellow color, and the diameter of the eggs is only one millimeter. About a week later, embryos are born from it, about four millimeters long. Closer to the autumn period, babies can grow up to 5 cm in length. Usually, their survival rate is 10, and this is under favorable circumstances. Scientists have noticed that in the goldfish, females are born much more than males (approximately five times).
The size of crucians and their development depend on the amount of food. If it is in abundance, then already at the age of two, the fish has a mass of about 300 grams, with poor food, crucian carp is able to survive, but will weigh only a few tens of grams at the same age.
Such a process as gynogenesis is characteristic of crucian carp. It occurs when there are no male crucian carp in the pond. The female has to spawn with other fish (carp, bream, roach). As a result, only female carp are born from caviar.
Natural enemies of carp
Not surprisingly, more large predatory fish are enemies of carp. The first among them can be called a pike, which simply loves to eat crucian carp. Just remember the well-known proverb: “That's what the pike is for, so that the crucian does not doze off.” A clumsy crucian can be caught for lunch by such fish as pike perch and asp.
Of course, the adult and large crucian carp have many times fewer enemies than the young, fry and eggs of this fish, which often fall into the mouths of newts and frogs. They exterminate eggs and newborn fish in huge quantities. Surprisingly, various aquatic insects (garnets, bugs, swimmers) attack crucian fry with great aggressiveness, and the voracity of their larvae is simply amazing.
In addition to troubles from the water column, lightning-fast air attacks of birds also lie in wait for the crucian. Thus, kingfishers and gulls love to taste carp. Birds can also carry dangerous fish diseases. Waterfowl ducks are also not averse to eating medium-sized carp, and gray long-legged herons eat dozens of them.
Predatory animals are also not averse to grabbing crucian carp, which can be a delicious snack for otters, muskrats, desmans, ferrets. Even the red fox manages to catch crucian carp in shallow water if she is lucky.
As you can see, the crucian carp has a lot of non-friends, especially among young animals. But most of all crucians are exterminated by people who are fond of fishing. Usually, crucian bites well on an ordinary float fishing rod, although there are many other devices for catching it (spinning and feeder fishing, elastic, donk). Anglers have long studied crucian habits and taste preferences, so they know how to attract this fish. As a fishery, carp are highly valued. Their white and tasty meat is considered dietary and very healthy.
Population and species status
In goldfish, the sex ratio is approximately the same. In the silver relative, the population of females dominates at times over the male. There is evidence that the number of males among silver carp is only about ten percent. Not so long ago, golden carp was the predominant species in many water bodies, but now the situation has changed, and in various places it was supplanted by its silver counterpart after it was artificially relocated. Increasingly, hybrids formed by crossing these two species began to appear.
Despite the fact that carp fishing is quite active, its population does not suffer from this, it still remains a widespread species of fish. Ichthyologists have evidence that over the past 50 years, stability has been observed in the number of crucian carp. There are no jumps in the direction of a sharp increase or decrease in the population. And the number of silver carp is increasing everywhere. The status of its species states that this fish is an object of sports, local and amateur fishing.
So, the disappearance of crucian carp is not threatened, and the range of its settlement is very extensive. Perhaps, crucian carp owes this to its most important qualities – unpretentiousness, great endurance and excellent adaptability to various habitats.
In the end, it remains to be added that although the situation with the crucian population is favorable, people should not resort to poaching, massively catching this good-natured and peaceful inhabitant of quiet reservoirs. The crucian carp will not be able to resist the incessant poaching. Sitting on the shore for pleasure with a fishing rod is one thing, and the widespread placement of nets is a completely different opera, which smacks of trouble and negativity.