Many carp fish are familiar not only in appearance, but also in taste. This is a fairly large and often found inhabitant of fresh waters. The carp is beautiful, like a knight in armor, it is covered with large, golden scales shimmering 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's analyze the life of this interesting fish, having studied its external features, habits, disposition and other important features.
Origin of the species and description
Carp is a representative of the ray-finned class fish belonging to the carp family. 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 the carp was 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 nobility. Gradually, through river channels and with the help of sailors, carp spread throughout Europe. In Greek, the very name “carp” means “harvest” or “fertility”. Carp, indeed, is very prolific, therefore it spread widely along many rivers and lakes of Europe, then came to Great Britain, and in the nineteenth century it also registered on the North American continent.
Video: Carp fish
The second version completely refutes the first, considering it only a myth. According to her, fish such as wild carp have long been found in rivers and lakes, differing in their forms. The carp living in flowing water had an elongated, torpedo-shaped body, while in the standing water it was more round, wide and fat. It is believed that it was the lake carp that was settled by man throughout Europe, North America and Asia. Breeding improvements in this variety began less than two centuries ago, bringing out 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 Sergei Aksakov's book about fishing. So the Bashkirs called the wild carp, which in Turkic means “silt fish”, this name is widely spread among the people, but ichthyologists believe that wild and domestic carp are 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. Scaled carp is covered with large scales. The frame has scales only on the ridge and belly. The scales of the mirror carp are very large and are located in places (more often along the lateral line of the fish). The naked carp does not have scales at all, but in terms of dimensions it is the largest, followed by the mirror in size, and then the scaly one.
Appearance and features
Carp an ordinary one is easily recognizable by many parameters:
- large, thick, slightly elongated body;
- thick, large scales with dark edging; along the lateral line of the fish, there are from 32 to 41 scales;
- the sides of the fish are golden, slightly brownish, thick the belly has a lighter tone;
- the carp has a large mouth, stretching 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 medium-sized pupils, bordered by a greenish-golden iris;
- a powerful fish spine has a dark shade and a notched grayish-olive fin with a spiny ray, the anal fin is short and also with a spike;
- carp have double nostrils.
Mucus envelops the entire body of the carp, preventing friction, regulating body temperature, protecting it from all kinds of parasites. Carp is very large and very weighty. It is reliably known that specimens weighing more than half a centner and over one and a half meters long were caught. Such sizes are very rare, usually carp come across from one to five kilograms, their age varies from two to seven years. In general, carp can be considered long-lived, nature has measured out a considerable life span for it, reaching up to 50 years, and some decorative species can live for more than a century.
An interesting fact: A seventy-year-old Japanese has a carp that he inherited, which is 35 years older than its owner. The owner carefully cares for his beloved pet, not agreeing to sell it even for fabulous sums.
Where does the carp live?
The area of distribution of carp is very extensive, it can be found in Europe, the Far East, Western and Central Asia, on the North American mainland. Carp is thermophilic, therefore it avoids the northern regions.
In our country, it has chosen the fresh waters of the following sea basins:
Carp loves water where there is no current at all, or it is too weak, likes to settle in lakes, ponds, flooded quarries, reservoirs and canals. A heavenly place for carp is a reservoir, where there is a lot of all kinds of vegetation and a soft (sandy, silty, clay) bottom. Usually, the fish lives at a depth of two to ten meters. The shelters that serve as protection for the carp are very important for him, so he will avoid open places where the bottom is completely flat. Carp prefer secluded pits, dense thickets, submerged snags.
In general, the carp is not particularly pretentious, the main thing for it is the availability of food, by itself it is quite hardy. Apparently, this is why this mustachioed aquatic inhabitant has spread so widely everywhere and feels great.
Interesting fact: Thanks to the unpretentiousness of the carp and its disregard for the level of pollution of the reservoir, the fish care only about the availability of food , they call it a water pig.
What do carp eat?
Carp can be called very voracious and omnivorous. He enjoys eating both animal and plant foods. Moreover, the first is preferred in spring and autumn, and the second – in the summer. Carp grows in size quite quickly, so it needs a lot of food, the stomach of the fish is designed so that it can eat almost non-stop.
The carp menu consists of:
- shellfish ;
- fish and frog eggs;
- all kinds of insects and their larvae;
- shoots of aquatic vegetation;
- young reeds.
Mature and large specimens also eat other fish, do not disdain frogs and crayfish. There are cases when large carps wanted to grab birds catching 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 the reeds you can hear something like champing, this is a carp feasting on reed shoots, deftly biting them with the help of pharyngeal teeth. Even the strong shells of snails and crayfish are tough enough for carps. If there is nothing tastier, carp can eat mucus from plants, and also does not disdain manure, which is found in cattle watering places.
Captive-bred carp is fed with corn, bread, specialized 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 varied the diet of carp, which spend most of their lives in search of delicious food.
An interesting fact: Cannibalism has not bypassed the carp family, so a larger representative may well have a snack on his small-sized closest relative.
Character and lifestyle
Carp prefers a collective life, therefore it unites in flocks, only too large specimens can be loners, but they also stay close to their fellow tribesmen. With the onset of cold weather, the Bolsheviks join the team so that it is easier to spend the winter together. For wintering, carps plunge into secluded pits located at the bottom, where they fall into a kind of half-asleep stupor. If there are no holes in the reservoir, then the mustachioed look for impassable snags for wintering, where they settle, and the mucus that envelops them helps the carps not to freeze.
Carps wake up with the onset of spring, when the water begins to gradually warm up, the fish begins to show its activity towards the end of March, in April. Wintering places are left and carps rush to a shallower depth (from 4 to 6 meters) to find something to eat. Carp is a sedentary fish, it does not swim far from its permanent places of deployment. Young carp move in flocks, usually being in thickets of reeds, and weighty relatives prefer depth, swimming to the surface only to refresh themselves.
Carp takes a fancy to shady impassable places, and avoids open sunny spaces. Flocks swim not in a whole crowd, but forming a string, where fish of different ages are present. Carp do not differ in aggressiveness, so they can be considered calm and peaceful aquatic inhabitants. It is very interesting to watch how a carp jumps high enough out of the water, and then flops back loudly.
This phenomenon often occurs at dawn or in the evening hours and looks very exciting. Ichthyologists believe that this is how the flock gives a sign that it is coming out to feed, and if the jumps are too frequent, then this is a sign that the weather will soon worsen. Carp for any fisherman is a very desirable trophy, fishing enthusiasts assure that this fish is very careful, strong and smart. Carp have a keen sense of smell, allowing them to smell bait or prey from afar.
An interesting fact: Carp, using gills, filter out food that they don’t like, so they are a real gourmet.
colors, and his review 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 is remarkably oriented and can easily move around, monitoring the environment. This is how savvy and difficult a carp is, therefore it is not easy to catch a large mustachioed.
Social structure and reproduction
Sexually mature carps become closer to three or five years of age, both males and females. Reproduction of carp depends not only on its age, but also on the temperature regime 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 is already significantly warmed up. For successful breeding, the length of the male must be at least 30 cm, and the female – at least 37.
The carp chooses a shallow spawning ground (about two meters), usually this happens in reeds. Such places are difficult to find, 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 fertilization. Peak spawning for carp starts at dusk (after the sun has set) and lasts about 12 hours.
Carps are indeed very prolific. Only one mature female can produce a whole million eggs, which she throws in portions for several days. The incubation period is only three to six days, then larvae appear, which feed on the contents of the yolk sac for two to three days. Then, the fry that begin to swim eat zooplankton and the smallest crustaceans, actively developing. Closer to the age of six months, carp can already weigh about 500 grams. This is how carp grows and develops at such a colossally fast pace.
Natural enemies of carps
Although the carp grows quite large in size, it has enemies and competitors, so it is always extremely cautious. Of course, the most vulnerable are not large individuals lying on the bottom, but fry and eggs. A big threat to them is green frogs, who love to feast on both 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 more inhabitants of the underwater kingdom will never refuse caviar. It often happens that caviar is washed ashore, where it dries up, or it is pecked by birds, eaten by other animals.
Do not forget that cannibalism is not alien to carps, so an older relative can eat his smaller brother without remorse. In reservoirs where predatory fish live, carp can be a good snack for large pike or catfish. The fry love to feed on the shallows, so some animals that are not averse to tasting fish can catch them there. For specimens of small size, birds (gulls, terns) hunting for fish can be dangerous, young animals often suffer from their raids.
Of course, it is impossible not to mention a person who can also be ranked among the enemies of the carp. This type of fish is very popular among amateur anglers, who have long carefully studied its habits and taste preferences. Catching a weighty specimen is not an easy task, but the unbridled appetite of a mustachioed often plays against him. It can be noted with confidence that if it were not for various living creatures that absorb carp eggs and fry, then this fish could flood a huge number of rivers and other reservoirs.
Population and species status
The distribution area of carp is very extensive, and its population is quite numerous, this fish fully justifies its name, featuring the highest fertility. Carp is very hardy, unpretentious to the environment, almost omnivorous, so it easily takes root in various water bodies. Now there are more and more fish farms that breed carps artificially, because it is very profitable, because. the fish is wonderful to breed, and the weight is gaining very rapidly.
It can be noted with confidence that this fish does not experience any threats to its existence, its population is very extensive, carp reproduces at an enormous rate, therefore, scientists do not cause any concern, it is not under special protection anywhere. It’s good that there are many deterrent factors that control its numbers (eggs and fry are eaten by all kinds of animals, fish, birds and insects), otherwise it would have heavily stocked many reservoirs, quickly breeding in them.
So, the population carp does not experience any downward swings, this fish is very popular among gourmets, many people like carp meat, so a huge number of different dishes can be prepared from it. It is very profitable to artificially breed this fish for further sale, because. it grows rapidly and actively reproduces.
In the end, I would like to add that carp fish captivates not only with its excellent taste, but also with a rather noble, beautiful, golden appearance, which is given solidity by 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 it, then he is a real lucky one.