Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Ctenopharyngodon idella
(grass carp)

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Datasheet

Ctenopharyngodon idella (grass carp)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 14 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Natural Enemy
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Ctenopharyngodon idella
  • Preferred Common Name
  • grass carp
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Actinopterygii
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • C. idella, the grass carp, is considered as a potential pest. In the USA, it has been recorded in 45 states and is known to have established populations in at least eight states in the Mississippi River Basin (...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
The swollen abdomen of a female grass carp.
TitleFemale grass carp
CaptionThe swollen abdomen of a female grass carp.
CopyrightLe Quang Hung
The swollen abdomen of a female grass carp.
Female grass carpThe swollen abdomen of a female grass carp.Le Quang Hung
Checking the fins of a male grass carp for signs of maturity.
TitleMale grass carp
CaptionChecking the fins of a male grass carp for signs of maturity.
CopyrightLe Quang Hung
Checking the fins of a male grass carp for signs of maturity.
Male grass carpChecking the fins of a male grass carp for signs of maturity.Le Quang Hung
A grass carp pond. Vietnam.
TitleA grass carp pond
CaptionA grass carp pond. Vietnam.
CopyrightLe Quang Hung
A grass carp pond. Vietnam.
A grass carp pondA grass carp pond. Vietnam.Le Quang Hung
Grass carp cage culture layout in Ea Soup reservoir, Vietnam.
TitleCage culture in reservoirs
CaptionGrass carp cage culture layout in Ea Soup reservoir, Vietnam.
CopyrightHa Phuong Truong
Grass carp cage culture layout in Ea Soup reservoir, Vietnam.
Cage culture in reservoirsGrass carp cage culture layout in Ea Soup reservoir, Vietnam.Ha Phuong Truong
A grass carp after 12 months in a growout pond.
TitleGrass carp
CaptionA grass carp after 12 months in a growout pond.
CopyrightLe Quang Hung
A grass carp after 12 months in a growout pond.
Grass carpA grass carp after 12 months in a growout pond.Le Quang Hung
Incubating grass carp eggs. Vietnam.
TitleIncubating eggs
CaptionIncubating grass carp eggs. Vietnam.
CopyrightLe Quang Hung
Incubating grass carp eggs. Vietnam.
Incubating eggsIncubating grass carp eggs. Vietnam.Le Quang Hung
Typical small pond with a feeding ring for grass carp.|Typical small pond with a feeding ring for grass carp. Greater Mymensingh, Bangladesh.
TitleSmall pond with feeding ring
CaptionTypical small pond with a feeding ring for grass carp.|Typical small pond with a feeding ring for grass carp. Greater Mymensingh, Bangladesh.
CopyrightLuke A. Colavito
Typical small pond with a feeding ring for grass carp.|Typical small pond with a feeding ring for grass carp. Greater Mymensingh, Bangladesh.
Small pond with feeding ringTypical small pond with a feeding ring for grass carp.|Typical small pond with a feeding ring for grass carp. Greater Mymensingh, Bangladesh.Luke A. Colavito

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Ctenopharyngodon idella (Valenciennes, 1844)

Preferred Common Name

  • grass carp

Other Scientific Names

  • Ctenopharyngodon idellus (Valenciennes, 1844)
  • Ctenopharyngodon laticeps Steindechner, 1866
  • Leuciscus idella Valenciennes, 1844
  • Leuciscus idellus Valenciennes, 1844
  • Leuciscus tschiliensis Basilewsky, 1855
  • Pristiodon siemionovii Dybovskii, 1877
  • Sarcocheilichthys teretiusculus Kner, 1867

International Common Names

  • English: carp, grass; gardd carp; white amur; white amur
  • Spanish: carpa forrajera; carpa herbivora
  • French: amour blanc; carpe amour; carpe de roseau; carpe herbivore
  • Russian: belyi amur
  • Chinese: chow hu; huan; huan-yu; hwan yu; ts'ao-ju; waan ue; wuan yu

Local Common Names

  • Albania: amuri i bardhe
  • Austria: graskarpfen
  • Bulgaria: byal amur
  • Cambodia: trey srokchen
  • Canada: carpe de roseau; grass carp; white amur
  • China/Hong Kong: waan ju; waan ue
  • Czech Republic: amur bílý; bílý amur
  • Denmark: græskarpe; graeskarpe
  • Ecuador: carpa forrajera
  • Finland: ruohokarppi
  • Germany: Amurkarpfen; Graskarpfen
  • Greece: chortofagos kyprinos
  • Hungary: amur
  • India: hulla; hullagende; hullu; hullugende
  • Iran: amoor
  • Italy: amur; carpa erbivora
  • Japan: sôgyo
  • Laos: pa kin gnia
  • Malaysia: chow hu; kap makan rumput; kap rumput; tongsan
  • Mexico: carpa herbivora
  • Netherlands: Chinese graskarper; graskarper
  • New Zealand: grass carp
  • Norway: graskarpe
  • Poland: amur bialy; bialy amur; crap-de-iarba
  • Portugal: carpa-do-limo
  • Romania: cosas; crap alb chinezese; crap de iarba
  • Slovakia: amur biely
  • South Africa: graskarp
  • Sweden: gräskarp
  • Thailand: pla chao hea; pla chao heu; pla kin ya; pla van hea; pla van heu
  • Ukraine: belyi amur
  • USA: grass carp; white amur
  • Vietnam: cá châm treng; cha cham

EPPO code

  • CTEPID (Ctenopharyngodon idella)

Summary of Invasiveness

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C. idella, the grass carp, is considered as a potential pest. In the USA, it has been recorded in 45 states and is known to have established populations in at least eight states in the Mississippi River Basin (Ramussen, 2000a; Nico and Fuller, 2005; Nico et al., 2010). The rapid spread of the species is attributed to:

  • widely scattered research projects

  • stockings by different government agencies (federal, state, and local)

  • interstate transport and release (legal and illegal) by individuals and private groups

  • and more importantly, escapes from farm ponds and aquaculture facilities and escapes from stocked waterbodies to nearby waterbodies.

Although stocking of grass carp as a biological control against nuisance aquatic plants in ponds and lakes continues, the importation, stocking, sale and possession of grass carp are controlled in some US states by state code and permit programme (Ramussen, 2000a, b). Moreover, a vigorous campaign against the spread of non-native, invasive fish species that includes grass carp is being coordinated by the US Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Actinopterygii
  •                     Order: Cypriniformes
  •                         Family: Cyprinidae
  •                             Genus: Ctenopharyngodon
  •                                 Species: Ctenopharyngodon idella

Description

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Grass carp is a large elongated fish with almost cylindrical body, round abdomen, and flat head (NACA, 1989). The mouth is sub-terminal to terminal (Anonymous, 1980; Shireman and Smith, 1983). The jaws have simple lips; the upper jaw slightly extends over the lower jaw. The fish has no barbels and the eyes are small. The snout is short and its length is less than or equal to the eye diameter (Fishbase, 2004). The gill membrane is connected to isthmus (Anonymous, 1980) and the gill rakers (15-19) are small, short, and widely set or scattered (NACA, 1989; FAO, 2005). The dorsal and anal fins are relatively short and the origin of the anal fin is behind the posterior edge of the dorsal fin (Shireman and Smith, 1983). The dorsal fin has 3 spines and 7-8 soft rays; the anal fin has 3 spines and 7-11 soft rays (FishBase, 2004). The pectoral fin has 2 spines and14 soft rays; the ventral fin, 1 spine and 8 soft rays (Anonymous, 1980). The caudal fin is deeply forked (Shireman and Smith, 1983) with 18 soft rays (FishBase, 2004). Grass carp has moderate to big scales and those on the back and sides have dark edges. There are 39-45 scales in the lateral line which extends to the caudal peduncle, 6-7 scale rows above the lateral line and 9-11 scale rows below (Anonymous, 1980).

Grass carp are heterosexual but external dimorphism is evident only at the onset of gonad maturity. The male grass carp has thick and long pectoral fins, extending freely like sharp knives whereas the female grass carp has thin and short pectoral fins that spread out like fans (NACA, 1989). Mature male fish develop pearl organs on the pectoral fins, head and opercula during spawning season but the females do not.

Live grass carp appear grey on the dorsal surface, greenish yellow on the sides, and yellowish white on the abdomen (NACA, 1989). The maximum recorded weight is 45 kg and the maximum reported age is 21 years (FishBase, 2004).

Distribution

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Grass carp have been introduced in about 80 countries worldwide and many are secondary or tertiary introductions from countries other than China (FishBase, 2004). The introductions were made mainly for aquaculture and/or aquatic weed control in both developing and advanced countries. In western Europe and USA, for example, the main interest in grass carp has been in using it as a biological weed control agent for which it has been introduced. In India, grass carp is one of the species used in the so-called composite culture of Indian major carp and Chinese carp (Pillay, 1990). In some other countries, grass carp were used primarily for research, but because of their fast growth and efficiency as a weed control agent they eventually became an important aquaculture species. In Hungary and several other European countries, grass carp has become a valuable species for sport fisheries (FishBase, 2004). The grass carp is a highly adaptable and tolerant species, which may explain its widespread and successful introductions.

Apart from its native range, the grass carp have been reported to become established in large rivers in Japan (e.g., Tone River), the European and central Asian areas of USSR, some countries in Europe (e.g., Danube River and tributaries), Mexico (e.g., Rio Balsas system), and the USA (e.g., Mississippi and Missouri Rivers) (Shireman and Smith, 1983). In most countries, the introduced grass carp fail to reproduce and establish in confined bodies of water due to their strict requirements for reproduction.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

AfghanistanPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
ArmeniaPresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
BangladeshPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
BhutanPresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Brunei DarussalamPresentNativeFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
CambodiaPresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
ChinaPresentNativeFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
IndiaPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; Shetty et al., 1989; FAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
-Tamil NaduPresent
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
IranPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
IraqPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
IsraelPresentIntroducedGolani and Mires, 2000; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
JapanPresentIntroducedChiba et al., 1989; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
KazakhstanPresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Korea, Republic ofPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
KyrgyzstanPresentIntroduced Not invasive FishBase, 2004
LaosPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
MyanmarPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
NepalPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
PakistanPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
SingaporePresentIntroducedChou and Lam, 1989; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
TaiwanPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; Liao and Liu, 1989; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
ThailandPresentWelcomme, 1988; Piyakarnchana, 1989; Greathead and Greathead, 1992; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
TurkmenistanPresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
United Arab EmiratesPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
UzbekistanPresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
VietnamPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroducedLever, 1996; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
EgyptPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedFroese and Pauly, 2004
KenyaPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
MauritiusPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
MoroccoPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
NigeriaPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
RéunionPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
RwandaPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
South AfricaPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; Welcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
SudanPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
TunisiaPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004

North America

CanadaPresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
-OntarioPresentNico et al., 2010
MexicoPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
USAPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-ArkansasPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-ColoradoPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-ConnecticutPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-DelawarePresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-FloridaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedNico et al., 2010
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-IdahoPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-IllinoisPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-IndianaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-IowaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-KansasPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-KentuckyPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-MarylandPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-MassachusettsPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-MichiganPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-MinnesotaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-MississippiPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-MissouriPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-NebraskaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-NevadaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-New HampshirePresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-New JerseyPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-New MexicoPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-New YorkPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-North DakotaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-OhioPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-OklahomaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-OregonPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-South DakotaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-TennesseePresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-TexasPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-UtahPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-WashingtonPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-West VirginiaPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-WisconsinPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005
-WyomingPresentIntroducedNico and Fuller, 2005

Central America and Caribbean

Costa RicaPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
CubaPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; Welcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
HondurasPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
JamaicaPresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
PanamaPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; Welcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004

South America

BoliviaPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
BrazilPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
ColombiaPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
GuyanaPresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
PeruPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
UruguayPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004

Europe

AustriaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011; NOBANIS, 2011
BelarusPresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
BelgiumPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
BulgariaPresentNativeShireman and Smith, 1983; Froese and Pauly, 2004
CroatiaPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
CyprusPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Czech RepublicPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
DenmarkPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
EstoniaIntroduced, not establishedNOBANIS, 2011Rare, potentially invasive
FinlandPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Former USSRPresentIntroduced Not invasive Welcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004
FrancePresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
GermanyPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
GreecePresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
HungaryPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
ItalyPresentIntroduced Not invasive Shireman and Smith, 1983
LatviaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011; NOBANIS, 2011
LithuaniaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011; NOBANIS, 2011
MoldovaPresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
NetherlandsIntroduced, not establishedDAISIE, 2011
PolandPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
RomaniaPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Russian FederationPresentNativeFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
SerbiaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011Established
SlovakiaPresentIntroducedFAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
SloveniaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011
SwedenPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; Welcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
UKPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
UkrainePresentIntroducedFishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)PresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004

Oceania

FijiPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; Welcomme, 1988; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004
New ZealandPresentIntroducedShireman and Smith, 1983; FAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Afghanistan China 1966-1967 Aquaculture (pathway cause) ,
Fisheries (pathway cause)
Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983); Welcomme (1988)
Algeria Hungary 1985 Fisheries (pathway cause) ,
Research (pathway cause)
Unknown Yes FishBase (2004)
Armenia Research (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004)
Bangladesh Hong Kong 1969 Aquaculture (pathway cause) ,
Fisheries (pathway cause)
Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Belarus Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004)
Belgium Hungary 1967 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004)
Bhutan Nepal 1983 Aquaculture (pathway cause)International organisationFishBase (2004)
Bolivia 1981 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Brazil Hungary 1968 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004)
Bulgaria Former USSR 1964 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownShireman and Smith (1983)
Cambodia Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004)
Canada USA 1987 Research (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004)
China Unknown Yes FAO (1997); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Colombia Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Costa Rica Taiwan 1976 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Côte d'Ivoire France 1979 Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Lever (1996); Lever (1996)
Croatia Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFAO (1997); FishBase (2004)
Cuba Former USSR 1966 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983); Welcomme (1988)
Cyprus Israel 1977 Aquaculture (pathway cause) ,
Fisheries (pathway cause) ,
Hunting, angling, sport or racing (pathway cause)
Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Czech Republic Former USSR 1961 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Denmark Malaysia 1965 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Egypt Hong Kong 1969 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Ethiopia Japan 1975 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government Yes Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Fiji Malaysia 1968 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983); Welcomme (1988)
Finland Sweden 1970 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Former USSR 1949 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
France Czechoslovakia (former) 1967 Unknown Yes FishBase (2004)
France Former USSR 1967 Unknown Yes FishBase (2004)
France Asia 1957 Unknown Yes FishBase (2004)
France Hungary 1967 Unknown Yes FishBase (2004)
Germany China 1964 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Greece Poland 1980 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Guyana Jamaica 1982 Aquaculture (pathway cause) ,
Research (pathway cause)
Unknown Yes FishBase (2004)
Honduras Taiwan 1976 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Hong Kong China Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Hungary China 1963 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government Yes Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004)
India Hong Kong 1959 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004); Shetty et al. (1989); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Indonesia Malaysia 1915 Research (pathway cause)Government Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Iran Former USSR 1966 Research (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Iraq Japan 1968 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Israel China 1965 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Golani and Mires (2000); Golani and Mires (2000)
Italy Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) 1972 Aquaculture (pathway cause) ,
Research (pathway cause)
UnknownShireman and Smith (1983)
Jamaica Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004)
Japan China 1878 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown Yes Chiba and et al. (1989); Chiba et al. (1989); FishBase (2004)
Kazakhstan Russian Federation 1963 Fisheries (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004)
Kenya Japan 1969 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Korea, Republic of Japan 1963 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Kyrgyzstan 1963 Unknown Yes FishBase (2004)
Laos Japan 1968 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Malaysia China 1800s Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Mauritius India 1975 Aquaculture (pathway cause) ,
Fisheries (pathway cause)
Unknown Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004)
Mexico Taiwan 1960 Aquaculture (pathway cause) ,
Fisheries (pathway cause)
Government Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Mexico China 1965 Aquaculture (pathway cause) ,
Fisheries (pathway cause)
Government Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Moldova Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004)
Morocco Bulgaria 1980 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Myanmar India 1969 Aquaculture (pathway cause)GovernmentFishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Nepal India 1965 Aquaculture (pathway cause)GovernmentFAO (1997); FishBase (2004)
New Zealand Malaysia 1966 Research (pathway cause)Government Yes FishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Nigeria 1972 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Pakistan China 1964 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFAO (1997); FishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Panama Taiwan 1977 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983); Welcomme (1988)
Peru Panama 1979 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Philippines China 1964 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Poland Former USSR 1964 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Puerto Rico USA 1972 Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Romania China 1959 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government Yes Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Russian Federation UnknownFishBase (2004)
Rwanda Korea, Republic of 1979 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Singapore China Aquaculture (pathway cause)Private sectorFishBase (2004)
Slovakia Former USSR 1961 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004)
South Africa Malaysia 1967 Research (pathway cause)UnknownShireman and Smith (1983)
South Africa Hungary 1975 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
Sri Lanka China 1948 UnknownFAO (1997); FishBase (2004)
Sudan India 1975 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownWelcomme (1988)
Sweden Hungary 1970 Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983); Welcomme (1988)
Taiwan China pre-1900s Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Liao and Lia (1989); Liao and Lia (1989); Liao and Liu (1989); Welcomme (1988)
Tanzania UnknownFAO (1997); FishBase (2004)
Thailand China 1932 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Private sector Yes FishBase (2004); Piyakarnchana (1989); Piyakarnchana (1989); Welcomme (1988)
Tunisia France 1981 Government Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004)
Turkmenistan China Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004)
UK Austria 1963 Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)
United Arab Emirates Hong Kong 1968 Aquaculture (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
Uruguay Research (pathway cause)UnknownFishBase (2004); Shireman and Smith (1983)
USA Malaysia 1963 Unknown Yes FAO (1997); FishBase (2004)
Uzbekistan 1961 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004)
Vietnam China 1958 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government Yes Yes FishBase (2004)
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) Former USSR 1963 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes FishBase (2004); Welcomme (1988)

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Freshwater
Lakes Present, no further details
Ponds Present, no further details
Rivers / streams Present, no further details

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The diploid chromosome number (2n) of grass carp as well as bighead carp and silver carp is 48 (Marian and Krasznai, 1979). Grass carp (and bighead carp) have 10 pairs of metacentric, 8 pairs of submetacentric and 6 pairs of telocentric chromosomes.

Natural Food Sources

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Food SourceLife StageContribution to Total Food Intake (%)Details
Acorus calamus Adult
Azolla (water fern) Adult
Bidens tripartite Adult
Fry/Larval up to 100
Butomus umbellatus Adult
Calamagrostis epigejos Adult
Calla palustris Adult
Carex hudsonii, C. nigra, C. pseudocyperus Adult
Ceratophyllum demersum (coontail) Adult
Chara sp. (stonewort, muskgrass) Adult
Chironomus Fry
cladocerans (e.g. Moina) Fry/Larval up to 100
Egeria densa (Brazilian elodea) Adult
Eichhornia crassipes (water hyacinth) Adult
Elodea canadensis (Canada waterweed) Adult
Equisetum sp. Adult
filamentous algae (e.g. Cladophora) Adult
Fontinalis antipyretica Adult
Fontinalis sp. Adult
Glyceria fluitans Adult
Hydrilla sp., H. verticillata Adult/Fry
Hydrocharis morus Adult
Juncus articulatus, J. effusus, J. filiformis Adult
Lactuca sativa Adult
Lemna sp., L. minor (duckweed) Adult/Fry
Lysimachia vulgaris Adult
Myriophyllum sp., M. spicatum (Eurasian watermilfoil) Adult
Najas foveolata, N. guadalupensis (southern naiad) Adult
Nasturtium officinale (watercress) Adult
nauplii of copepods Fry/Larval up to 100
Nitella spp. Adult
Nuphar sp. (spatterdock), N. luteum Adult
Nymphaea sp. (fragrant waterlily) Adult
Nymphaea spp. (water-lillies) Adult
Panicum repens (torpedo grass) Adult
Phragmites communis Adult
phytoplankton Fry
Pistia stratiotes (water lettuce) Adult
Poa palustris Adult
Polygonum amphibium (water smartweed); P. natans (floating leaved pondweed; P. amplifolius (big leaf pondweed) Adult
Potamogeton crispus (curly leaf pondweed); P. filiformes, P. natans, P. obtusifolius, P. pectinatus (sago pondweed); P. perfoliatus, P. zosteriformes (flat-stemmed pondweed); P. praelongus (white-stemmed pondweed); P. illinoensis, P. lucens Adult
protozoans Fry/Larval
Ranunculus fluitans Adult
Sagittaria sagittifolia Adult
Scirpus sp., S. silvaticus Adult
Sphagnum sp. Adult
Spirodela polyrrhiza (duckweed) Adult
Spirogyra Adult
Stachys palustris Adult
Stratiotes aloides (water-aloe) Adult
tender aquatic plants (e.g. Wolffia arrhiza) Adult/Broodstock/Fry
tender land plants Adult
Trapa natans Adult
Trifolium repens Adult
Typha augustifolia, T. latifolia, T. angustata (Typha spp., cat-tail) Adult
Typha sp. (pond cattails, young); Typha angustifolia, sedges and rushes Adult
Utricularia vulgaris (bladderwort) Adult
Vallisneria (eel grass) Adult
Vallisneria spiralis, V. americana (water celery) Adult
water plantain Adult
young white water buttercup Adult
Zizania latifolia Adult

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Tolerated Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
D - Continental/Microthermal climate Tolerated Continental/Microthermal climate (Average temp. of coldest month < 0°C, mean warmest month > 10°C)

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Anabas Predator Adult/Fry Shireman and Smith, 1983
Ardeola schistaceus Predator Adult/Fry FishBase, 2004
Aves Predator Adult/Fry Anonymous, 2004
Bufo bufo gargarizans Predator Fry Anonymous, 1980
Channa Predator Adult/Fry Shireman and Smith, 1983
Clarias Predator Adult/Fry Shireman and Smith, 1983
Cybister Predator Fry Anonymous, 1980
Elopichthys bambusa Predator Adult/Fry Shireman and Smith, 1983
Enhydris chinensis Predator Adult/Fry FishBase, 2004
Eretes Predator Fry Anonymous, 1980
Esox lucius Predator Adult/Fry/Larval Anonymous, 2004; Shireman and Smith, 1983
Gobius Predator Adult/Fry Shireman and Smith, 1983
Laccotrephes japonensis Predator Fry Anonymous, 1980; NACA, 1989
Luciobrama typus Predator Adult/Fry Shireman and Smith, 1983
Lutra lutra Predator Adult Adámek et al., 2003
Micropterus salmoides Predator Adult/Fry Shireman and Smith, 1983
Notonecta Predator Fry Anonymous, 1980
Odonata Predator Fry NACA, 1989
Parasilurus asotus Predator Adult/Fry Shireman and Smith, 1983
Rana tigerina rugulosa Predator Fry Anonymous, 1980
Ranatra Predator Fry Anonymous, 1980
Rhacopherus leucomystax Predator Fry Anonymous, 1980
Sander lucioperca Predator Adult/Fry FishBase, 2004; Shireman and Smith, 1983
Silurus asotus Predator Adult/Fry FishBase, 2004
Siniperca chuatsi Predator Adult/Fry FishBase, 2004; Shireman and Smith, 1983
Sinonatrix piscator Predator Adult/Fry FishBase, 2004
Thermocyclops oithonoides Predator Fry/Larval Anonymous, 1980

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Aquaculture Yes
Biological control Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Environment (generally) Positive
Fisheries / aquaculture Positive
Human health Positive
Native flora Negative
Other Positive
Trade/international relations Positive
Transport/travel Positive

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

Grass carp were introduced to many countries mainly as a biological control for aquatic weeds (in ponds, reservoirs and other public waters) and for aquaculture and fisheries. The effects of grass carp in a body of water are complex; they are influenced by factors such as stocking density and size/age at stocking, abundance and type of macrophyte or aquatic vegetation, and the community structure of the ecosystem (Shireman and Smith, 1983).

Overstocking of grass carp cause a large influx of nutrients derived from the carp faeces and a fast or substantial decrease of macrophytes in lakes and ponds. Adverse effects of overstocking of grass carp in various countries as reviewed by Shireman and Smith (1983) include:

  • phytoplankton blooms (USSR, Yugoslavia, Romania, India)
  • a decrease in the invertebrate numbers and diversity (USSR and USA)
  • disruption of macroinvertebrate food base and consequent reduction in centrarchid biomass in a reservoir (USA)
  • reduction in the spawning sites for other fishes such as the largemouth bass and bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus (USA)
  • and prevention of spawning by pike, Esox lucius, and perch, Lucioperca fluviatilis, in small Russian lakes.

Changes in water quality in lakes as a result of drastic reduction of macrophytes by the grass carp include a decrease in dissolved oxygen and increase in carbon dioxide levels in a lake in Yugoslavia, and increase in Kjeldahl nitrogen and significant decrease in pH in a lake in Florida (USA) (Shireman and Smith, 1983). On the other hand, the presence of grass carp improved oxygen levels in a reservoir (USSR) since grass carp drastically reduced the macrophytes that normally cause low dissolved oxygen during seasonal die-offs and decomposition.

A more exhaustive study on the environmental impact of grass carp as a weed control agent in nutrient enriched waters was done in New Zealand. After 15 years of research, the conclusions were:

  1. the grass carp were environmentally safe
  2. damage to native and introduced fisheries would be minimal
  3. the likelihood of breeding was low
  4. harmful effect of weed removal by fish would be much less than by herbicide or mechanical means (FAO, 1997; Fishbase, 2004).

However, only sterile fish are released for weed control (De Zylva, 1996).

Impact on Biodiversity

Contradictory results have been reported concerning grass carp interaction with other species since many factors influence the effects of grass carp introduction in a body of water. In his review, Petr (2000) reported that removal of aquatic vegetation (Hydrilla verticillata, Myriophyllum spicatum and Ceratophyllum demersum) by grass carp in a lake system (Lake Conroe) result in the decline of some fish species (e.g., small phytophilic, Lepomis spp., bluegill, Lepomis machrochirus, and crappie, Pomoxis spp.) and a nearly fivefold increase in the density of threadfin shad, Dorosoma petenense. The sportfish community changed from the original largemouth bass-crappie-hybrid striped bass (Morone chrysops x M. saxatilis) fishery to a channel catfish-white bass-hybrid striped bass-largemouth bass-black crappie, after vegetation removal. The littoral fish community also shifted from a sunfish and shad community to one that included large numbers of cyprinids, inland silversides, Menidia beryllina, and channel catfish. In many other lakes, there was no consistent trend on the effect of aquatic macrophyte removal in that some grass carp lakes supported excellent fish populations and some did not.

Grass carp affects other fish species by interfering with their reproduction, broadening or narrowing their food base, and decreasing their refugia (Shireman and Smith, 1983). Overfeeding of grass carp on aquatic vegetation affects habitats for migrating and wintering waterfowl because the native aquatic plants preferred by grass carp are also important food for the waterfowl and habitat for invertebrate food items (Welcomme, 1988; Petr, 2000). Grass carp has also been reported to compete for plant food with crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, in small ponds leading to a decrease in crayfish production.

Accidental introduction of the intestinal parasite, Bothriocephalus acheilognathi (=gowkongensis), is associated with the introduction of grass carp (FishBase, 2004) from the Far East and has caused extensive losses in common carp culture in Europe (Shireman and Smith, 1983). In the USA, various tests have shown that the golden shiner virus that causes mortalities in golden shiners, Notemigonus crysoleucas, is the same as the grass carp reovirus which must have been imported into the country along with the introduction of grass carp (McEntire et al., 2003).

Vegetation removal by grass carp has been reported to improve growth of rainbow trout due to increases in phytoplankton and zooplankton production (a secondary effect of the presence of grass carp), but it also led to higher predation on rainbow trout by cormorants, Phalacrocorax auritus,due to lack of cover, and changes in diet, densities, and growth of native fishes (Nico and Fuller, 2005).

Social Impact

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The introduction of grass carp in many countries has generally resulted in a positive economic impact due to increase in aquaculture production and fisheries production in inland waters. Chinese carp, including grass carp, introduced in Malaysia have no negative impact on human lifestyles, customs or economy (Ang et al., 1989). Instead, the introductions have resulted in positive contribution to human nutrition and economy. In Poland, grass carp in polyculture has contributed about 30% increase in production in ponds (FishBase, 2004). In the Czech Republic, the socioeconomic effect of grass carp is beneficial due to the aquaculture production of the species in country. In India, grass carp has proven to be a boom for aquaculturists particularly in the submountainous regions of the country where Indian major carp could not thrive well (FishBase, 2004). In Vietnam, the introduction of grass carp has contributed significantly to the diversification of cultured fish species as well as the fish community structure. Being a fast-growing species feeding mainly on aquatic vegetation and grass, the grass carp has been found suitable for culture in ponds, cages and lakes particularly at the mid-land and high-land regions of the country (FAO, 1997; FishBase, 2004). In India, grass carp has increased fish production and proven to be a good table fish as well as an efficient biological control submerged weeds. (Shetty et al., 1989).

Grass carp is not a popular food fish in Japan but it is an important species in commercial fisheries (Chiba et al., 1989) especially among anglers due to its size and peculiar feeding habits. Grass carp is also valued as a game fish for anglers in other countries such as Poland and Czech Republic (Lever, 1996; FishBase, 2004). In Singapore, the common carp and Chinese carp formed the basis for an important aquaculture after 1945 when cost of marine fish increased considerably (Chou and Lam, 1989). However, the increasing land demand and land values in the country resulted in the reclamation of ponds and the consequent decline of carp culture.

Prior to 1963, Taiwan had to import fry of Chinese carp yearly from mainland China through Hong Kong but after the successful development of techniques for induced spawning of the carp, which include grass carp, Taiwan exports substantial volumes of carp fry (Liao and Liu, 1989). The culture of Chinese carp in Malaysia is dependent on imported fry from Taiwan or Hong Kong (Ang et al., 1989).

In China and other countries, grass carp fetch a higher price than bighead carp or silver carp and provide added income for fish farmers (Stone et al., 2000; Salehi, 2004; FAO, 2005). Wholesale price of grass carp in 2003 was US $1.60 in Iran (Salehi, 2004). Retail prices of grass carp in China are usually US $0.70-1.00/kg (FAO, 2005).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Live feed

General

  • Aquaria fish

Human food and beverage

  • Canned meat
  • Cured meat
  • Eggs (roe)
  • Fish meal
  • Fresh meat
  • Frozen meat
  • Live product for human consumption
  • Whole

Materials

  • Skins/leather/fur

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Asian Carp Management, Invasive Species Coordination Websitehttp://asiancarp.org/
Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commissionhttp://nis.gsmfc.org/
Johnny Jensen's Photographic Libraryhttp://www.jjphoto.dk
Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (MICRA)http://wwwaux.cerc.cr.usgs.gov/MICRA/Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF)
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extensionhttp://edis.ifas.ufl.eduElectronic Data Information Source (EDIS) web site
US Fish & Wildlife Servicehttp://www.fws.gov/midwest/Fisheries/topic-ans.htm

Contributors

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Main Author
Corazon Santiago
3 Mt. Caraballo, Fairmount Hills Subdivision, Antipolo City, Rizal 1870, Philippines

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