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Ctenopharyngodon idella  (Valenciennes, 1844)

Grass carp
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Native range | All suitable habitat
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Ctenopharyngodon idella   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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China country information

Common names: Grass carp, ??, ??
Occurrence: native
Salinity: freshwater
Abundance: | Ref:
Importance: highly commercial | Ref: FAO, 1992
Aquaculture: commercial | Ref: FAO, 1997
Regulations: | Ref:
Uses: no uses
Comments: Recorded from Erqishi, Ulungur, Bosten, Tarim and Yili rivers (Ref. 41093) and at Tungting Lake where it is known as "huan-yü"(Ref. 35840). A popular cultured fish, introduced from its native range to other regions in China (intensive culture and extensive stocking in all kinds of inland waters) (Ref. 45864 and 55380). Also Refs. 48, 1441, 9987 and 31845.
National Checklist:
Country Information:
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Hwang, H.C., P.C. Yueh and S.F. Yu, 1982
National Database:

Classification / Names

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Cypriniformes (Carps) > Cyprinidae (Minnows or carps) > Squaliobarbinae
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL

Common names from other countries

Main reference

Size / Weight / Age

Max length : 150 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 30578); common length : 10.7 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 35840); max. published weight: 45.0 kg (Ref. 7248); max. reported age: 21 years (Ref. 48)

Length at first maturity
Lm ?, range 58 - 79.2 cm


Freshwater; demersal; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 30 m (Ref. 6898)

Climate / Range

Subtropical; 0°C - 35°C (Ref. 52059); 65°N - 25°N


Asia: China to eastern Siberia (Amur River system, Ref. 1441). Widely transported around the world (Ref. 7248). Persists only in Europe by stocking (Ref. 59043). Introductions often brought with it the parasitic tapeworm Bothriocephalus opsarichthydis (synonym of B. acheilognathi) (Ref. 12217). Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.
Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions

Short description

Dorsal spines (total): 3; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7-8; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 7 - 11. No barbels. Snout very short, its length less than or equal to eye diameter. Postorbital length more than half head length (Ref. 4967). 18 soft rays for caudal fin (Ref. 40476). Diagnosed from rather similar species Mylopharyngodon piceus by having the following characters: body olive to brassy green above, silvery white to yellow below; body cylindrical; pharyngeal teeth laterally compressed, serrated, with a groove along grinding surface, usually in two rows, 2,5-4,2 (Ref. 59043).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Adults occur in lakes, ponds, pools and backwaters of large rivers (Ref. 5723), preferring large, slow-flowing or standing water bodies with vegetation. Tolerant of a wide range of temperatures from 0° to 38°C, and salinities to as much as 10 ppt and oxygen levels down to 0.5 ppm. Feed on higher aquatic plants and submerged grasses; takes also detritus, insects and other invertebrates. One of the world's most important aquaculture species and also used for weed control in rivers, fish ponds and reservoirs (Ref. 9987). Spawn on riverbeds with very strong current (Ref. 30578). Utilized also fresh and eaten steamed, pan-fried, broiled and baked (Ref. 9987). Considered as a pest in most countries because of the damages made to submerged vegetation (Ref. 43281).

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

Threat to humans

  Potential pest

Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes


Special reports

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Internet sources

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805)
PD50 = 1.0000 many relatives (e.g. carps) 0.5 - 2.0 few relatives (e.g. lungfishes)

Trophic Level (Ref. 69278)
2.0   ±0.00 se; Based on food items.

Resilience (Ref. 69278)
Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.13-0.19; tm=2-10; tmax=21; Fec=50,000)

Vulnerability (Ref. 59153)
High to very high vulnerability (65 of 100)
Price category (Ref. 80766)