White amur

The white carp is a large and beautiful fish from the Karpov family. It is valued for its beneficial properties. It grows quickly, adapts well to the ecological niches of various fresh water bodies. It is a commercial fish. Possessing excellent taste, it also brings additional benefits to water bodies, effectively clearing them of excess aquatic vegetation that it feeds on.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Cupid

Photo: Cupid

Grass carp (Ctenopharyngon idella) belongs to the Carp family, order Cyprinidae, class Bony fish. This species originates from East Asia, where its distribution is still high, starting from the Amur River and reaching the southern Chinese borders.

Video: White carp

Belamur appeared in Russian rivers under the Soviet Union, when in the early 60s it was introduced and acclimatized to effectively combat abundant aquatic vegetation. It cleans water bodies very effectively, eating up to 2 kg of aquatic plants per 1 kg of its body weight within one day. On average, an adult large individual can eat about 20-30 kg of algae per day.

An interesting fact: White carp is able to eat not only underwater plants, but can also eat terrestrial vegetation, for this purpose it goes to the places of river floods. Members of the species have been documented jumping out of the water to grab land plants.

This species is found in central irrigation canals and ponds used to cool power plants. In such natural conditions, the fish is not able to spawn, and its reproduction occurs with the help of larvae brought from the Krasnodar Territory and Moldova.

White carp is a useful fish that is bred for commercial purposes. Has excellent taste. The meat is fatty, tasty and dense, white, nutritious. The grass carp liver is also valuable, it is also used as food, the liver is large, with a high fat content.

Appearance and features

 Photo: White carp fish

Photo: White carp fish

White carp is a rather large fish, reaching a length of 1.2 m and a mass of up to 40 kg. The body has an elongated valky shape, some flattening is noted in the sides. The head is low, the mouth is straight, the posterior margin of the mouth does not extend beyond the anterior margin of the eyes along a vertical line. The forehead is quite wide.

Teeth special — pharyngeal, located in 2 rows, squeezed laterally, the edge of the teeth is very sharp, can be compared with a saw, with an uneven jagged surface. The scales are large, dense, with a dark strip located along the very edge of each scale. On the abdomen, the scales are light, without a rim. The back and belly are rounded between the fins.


  • the dorsal fin has a slightly rounded shape, starts slightly in front of the ventral fins, the fin is high, but not long, has 7 branched rays and 3 unbranched;
  • pelvic fins do not reach the anus;
  • anal fin has a slightly rounded shape, small size, has 8 branched and 3 unbranched rays;
  • the caudal fin is large, its notch is medium.

All fins are light, except for the caudal and dorsal. The back of grass carp has a green color with a gray tint, the sides are light golden, with 40-47 scales located along the lateral line. Above the gills is a gill cover, on which the stripes diverge radially. Gills with sparse and short stamens. The eyes have a golden iris. Grass carp Has 42-46 vertebrae and a dark, almost black peritoneum.

Where does carp live?

Photo: Grass carp live

Photo: Grass carp live

Fish natural habitats — East of Asia, namely, from the Amur River and south, to Xijiang. In Russia, Amur lives in the river of the same name, its middle and lower reaches. For the purpose of acclimatization in the 60s of the 20th century, fish were launched into many rivers of the USSR.

Among which:

  • Don;
  • Dnieper;
  • Volga;
  • Kuban;
  • Amur;
  • Yenisei and others.

Introduction was carried out with the aim of cleansing from plant accumulations.

The introduction of fish into freshwater reservoirs was also carried out:

  • North America;
  • Europe;
  • Asia;
  • Sakhalin.

The main purpose of moving — reproduction of fish as an object for fish farming. It spawns mainly in the Sungari River, Khanka Lake, Ussuri River, in the rivers of China, on the Don, on the Volga.

Now grass carp lives in almost all reservoirs, large lakes and river-lake systems:

  • Moldova;
  • European Russia;
  • Belarus;
  • Central Asia;
  • Ukraine;
  • Kazakhstan.

The presence of fish in rivers, reservoirs and pond farms is ensured only through artificial reproduction.

What does grass carp eat?

Photo: White carp fish

Photo: Grass carp fish

An important condition for the existence of fish is the presence of abundant higher vegetation, as grass carp — The fish is herbivorous and feeds exclusively on plants. The food for young grass carp is first zooplankton, small crustaceans. As it grows, after reaching an intestine length of 6 to 10 cm, the fish switches to eating plants.

Plant food — the main component in nutrition, but sometimes individuals of the species can eat young fish. Unpretentiousness in food — the main feature of eating behavior. Being in the pond, it can be happy to eat the food that is designed for carp.

Plant food preferred by grass carp:

  • soft grass;
  • elodea;
  • duckweed;
  • stringweed;
  • chilim;
  • hornwort;
  • weed;
  • reed leaves;
  • sedge;
  • hard algae.

Prefers easily available food, so he likes soft stems and pre-cut bulrush leaves. However, when «beloved» there is no food, cupid begins to eat everything, indiscriminately including surface plants, for which it pulls and uproots. He eats some of it, but spits out a lot. Can eat beet tops, cabbage leaves, clover.

The temperature range from 25 to 30 ° C is best suited for active feeding of grass carp. The mass of food eaten in this temperature regime is up to 120% of its own weight. The process of digestion in this species occurs quickly, food passing through a short gastrointestinal tract is not completely absorbed. Very rarely, as a possible option, it eats insects, leeches, molluscs.

Interesting fact: In the winter season, when the temperature is low and there is not enough, and sometimes there is no plant food at all, it may not eat at all . This is due to the fact that during the period of active nutrition, a supply of nutrients has accumulated in the body. At the same time, there is a decrease in metabolism and all functions of the organism of individuals.

Peculiarities of character and lifestyle

Photo: Grass carp fish

Photo: Grass carp fish

Belamur in its natural habitat migrates depending on the seasonal frequency. When it is warm, it is located in the appendages of the rivers, and closer to the cold and during the winter it lives in the river channel, where it can gather in flocks in the pits of the river bottom.

White carp is a stenophage, that is, it uses a definitely narrow food spectrum — it is mostly aquatic plants, it can also use terrestrial plants growing on the slopes of rivers and reservoirs. To tear off the plant, it uses the jaws, and with the help of the pharyngeal teeth, the plant fibers are frayed. Juveniles smaller than 3 cm can be used to feed on small crustaceans, crustaceans and rotifers.

Sexual maturity in different habitats occurs at different times. Thus, in its native environment — In the Amur River basin, sexual maturity occurs by 10 years. In Chinese rivers, a little earlier, by 8-9 years.

An interesting fact: Representatives of the species living in the rivers of Cuba reach puberty very early, at 1-2 years of age.

Caviar is spawned in portions, spawning is extended over time:

  • in Chinese rivers from April to August;
  • in the Amur basin during June and July. It is also assumed that spawning is instantaneous.

Caviar is pelagic, that is, it is in a floating state in the water column. 3 days after spawning eggs, larvae hatch from them, it is important that the water temperature should not be lower than 20 ° C. The fry soon set off towards the shore, where they have all the necessary conditions, including food — insects, larvae, small crustaceans, algae. After the body grows to 3 cm, it switches to feeding on vegetation.

Belamur is not shy, but very cautious. It has places to hide, such as at the bottom of a river hole or in branches. The routes along which the fish swim are the same. In sunny weather, he likes to swim in the upper warm layers of the reservoir.

Social Structure and Reproduction

Photo: Belamur

Photo: Belamur

Adult individuals of this species can gather in flocks, this is especially noticeable during wintering, which fish spend in pits at the bottom of the river.

Interesting fact: In the cold winter season, special skin glands produce a viscous secret, whitish threads of which can float in the water, thus giving out places of significant accumulation of fish.

After reaching puberty, (on average 7 years) in the summer, the White Amur goes to spawn. It should be shallow water, with a solid bottom, the basis of which is stone or clay. An important condition is the presence of an adequate current and a water temperature of 25 ° C.

The female, on average, spawns about 3.5 thousand eggs floating in the upper warm layers of the water, which then spread with the flow of water. After 3 days, larvae appear from the eggs.

Within a week, the larva, having previously fixed itself on the underwater plants of the reservoir, grows to a fry. Malek, being in the coastal zone, feeds on zooplankton and benthic organisms. Upon reaching a height of 3 cm, Malek switches to a vegetarian diet.

Interesting fact: Under adverse conditions — lack of food, strong current, sharp temperature fluctuations, there is a stop in reproduction and destruction of eggs, the so-called resorption.

Natural enemies of grass carp

Photo: Grass carp

Photo: Grass carp

An adult grass carp has impressive size, due to which it has no natural enemies in freshwater rivers. But for still small, growing individuals, there are many dangers, among which:

  • unfavorable climatic conditions, sharp fluctuations in temperature, changes in the speed of the current, droughts, floods;
  • insects, amphibians, other animals that can eat caviar. Considering that there is not so much spawning, this can even threaten the existence of the population;
  • for small and medium-sized fish, predatory fish, including pike and catfish, pose a threat only if we are talking about open water bodies ;
  • birds living near water bodies, as well as waterfowl, can feed on small and medium-aged representatives of the species, which also negatively affects the quantitative characteristics of the population;
  • a person, with his careless and sometimes greedy attitude to fishing.

Since the White Amur is a very tasty and healthy fish, every fisherman strives to catch it. Environmental problems, unfortunately, are rampant. Waters are polluted with waste and discharges from chemical production, to increase the benefits, growth factors and hormones are added to feed, changing the entire biocenosis of ecological systems.

Population and species status

Photo: Grass carp in the water

Photo: Grass carp in the water

Belamur is a fish of high value in terms of fishing, as well as cleansing. The population size in its natural range (Amur river basins) has been and remains low. A somewhat different situation is noted after the processes of introduction and acclimatization in different water bodies of the world. Being an unpretentious consumer of plant foods, the white whale is growing rapidly, moreover, it is not a competitor in terms of food factor to other fish species.

The only obstacle to the active growth of the migrant population is the lack of proper conditions for spawning. Here they resort to bringing fry from places of natural habitat and spawning and new settlement. Therefore, at present, the invasive grass carp often makes up a large proportion of the total catch.

As a food product, grass carp is highly valued. In addition to excellent taste, its meat also has useful properties.
In the fish industry, it is one of the preferred species, along with carp, with which there is no competition in the food component. Based on the fact that the fish is unpretentious, it is characterized by rapid growth, it helps to cleanse water bodies from overgrowing, being a biological reclamator, it is preferred in breeding.

White carp is an excellent representative of the Karpovs. Beautiful fish, with an impressive size. Unpretentious to the conditions of existence. It has many useful qualities, among which an important role is played by the purification of water bodies, as well as excellent taste and nutritional properties. Acclimatized in water bodies of different countries. Cultivation is used for commercial purposes.

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