Guide to types of Carp

  • Common Carp
  • Mirror Carp
  • Leather Carp
  • Grass Carp
  • Crucian Carp

Carp or to give them the proper latin name (Cyprinus Carpio) were introduced into the Uk around 500 years ago. Our knowledge of the species has remained fairly scant until recently.

The Carp were introduced into the Uk by Monks in monastries and kept in ponds known as stews.

They were introdcued and bred as a food source and the original descendants of these carp are known as wildies.

This original strain are now fairly rare as the species have been diluted.

The types of Carp now seen in the Uk are as follows

COMMON CARP

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Common Carp

The common carp is easily identified by regular scales over the whole of its body. They retain the same orderly scale pattern as the original wildie but have a more rotound body shape.

MIRROR CARP

Mirror Carp

The Mirror carp is identified by irregular scales dotted haphazardly over its body. The shape of a Mirror Carp is different to that of a Common Carp. Mirror carp are generally having a fuller and more rounded shape. Some Mirror carp are rounded in the shape of a dinner plate. A large swollen belly is not uncommon in larger specimens.

The colours in a Mirror Carp are dependent on the water in which it lives. Gravel pit carp can be almost black; Carp, which are found in clay ponds, can be a light gray or brown with large areas of red/Orange/Gold coloring.

The scale patterns of the Mirror Carp are highly variable. Anglers have subdivided the patterns of the scales into easily identifiable descriptive patterns.

A perfect FULLY SCALED MIRROR. Are completely covered in scales of different sizes.

 
  LEATHER CARP

LEATHER CARP

A perfect LEATHER CARP is completely devoid of any scales. However, Leather carp are allowed to have scales along the dorsal line and at the wrist of the tail. The anal fin often has fewer rays than commons and mirrors and the dorsal fin is often imperfect. ...

GRASS CARP

GRASSCARP

The grass carp is similar to the the common carp except it has a long slender body and an upturned mouth.

CRUCIAN CARP

Crucian Carp

Latin name: Carassius carassius
The crucian is amongst the most contentious of all our fishes. Anybody who believes they can identify them easily is either a charlatan, or deluded, for this species not only easily hybridises with both carp and the closely related brown goldfish, but can also be easily confused with the brown goldfish. For this reason, it is difficult to determine the actual distribution of this species in the UK. At best, it is limited and perhaps in decline thanks to hybridisation. In Europe it is found through Scandinavia to isolated (introduced) populations in the Rio Ebro in Spain.

Features: Dark golden bronze colouration makes the crucian an impressive looking fish. An absence of barbules is a clear and easily defined difference between it and small common carp. Look for a lateral line count of between 31-26 and convex dorsal fin and a weak leading ray to the dorsal fin as hints to identification, although many of these features will be shared with hybrids.

Diet: Despite being a member of the carp family, crucians are much more delicate feeders than their larger cousins. This is in part because of their definite preference for tiny invertebrates, particularly chironomid larvae. Larger fish will take a range of invertebrates including small molluscs and freshwater shrimps when available.

Spawning: Crucians spawn in very warm conditions found between May and August. In the UK, spawning may only take place infrequently. The ideal habitat for crucians is small farm ponds and oxbow lakes where the harsh conditions do not suit larger species that would adversely compete with these small fish. Crucians are particularly adapted to high temperatures and low oxygen concentrations and can survive in tiny ponds that become very warm. Paradoxically, these harsh environments lead to good survival of young crucians and small pond populations are often made up of huge numbers of stunted individuals.

Growth: Crucians are a slow growing species. The fish mature after only 3-4 years at a weight of only half a pound. When they are not stunted, crucians can live for around fifteen years and will slowly grow to a couple of pounds in weight. Fish of more than two pounds are generally very rare. In stunted populations each fish may weigh only a few ounces, but will be sexually mature and each year will produce more offspring propagating the stunted population.