Date of this Version
Asian carp are large 39-40 in. (40-50 lb.) fish introduced into the U.S. by fish farmers in Southern states in the 1960’s and 70’s to control vegetation and algae blooms. Three of these species, the grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis), and silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) have been released or have escaped to the wild and are reproducing in many rivers and streams of the Mississippi River Basin. As they continue to expand their range, and show up in commercial and sport fish catches, a need has arisen to develop a simple key to assist fishers and resource managers in making quick and accurate field identifications.