Common carp

Cyprinus carpio

Family Cyprinidae - carps

Body elongate, laterally compressed; back arched, elevated, deepest part of body is just before dorsal fin; color goldish to gray (brightly colored carp are called "koi"), belly lighter; caudal, anal, pelvic and pectoral fins dark sometimes with red; dorsal fin long, anterior rays longer than posterior rays; scales large, sides and upper scales outlined in dark pigment; sometimes partially scaled ("mirror" carp) or scaleless ("leather" carp); mouth slightly oblique, pair of barbels on each side; heavy, serrated spines in anterior dorsal and anal fins; head is scaleless.
Similar Species
The common carp differs from other similar looking species (like the bigmouth buffalo) by having spines in its dorsal and anal fins and barbels on its jaws.
Freshwater, low salinity bays
Maximum Size
120 cm (4 ft), common to 31 cm (12 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. III-IV,17-23; A. II-III, 5-6 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
The common carp is native to Asia, but was introduced into the U.S. and is well established throughout. There are several varieties, including the highly ornamental "koi".
State size/bag limits