Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Mylopharyngodon piceus
(black amur)

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Datasheet

Mylopharyngodon piceus (black amur)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 06 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Natural Enemy
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Mylopharyngodon piceus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • black amur
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Actinopterygii
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Establishment of M. piceus in the wild could have serious adverse impacts, due to predation on native mollusc species, including threatened and endangered species and fingernail clam populations, a primary food...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Mylopharyngodon piceus (black amur); adult, in hand. USA.
TitleAdult
CaptionMylopharyngodon piceus (black amur); adult, in hand. USA.
CopyrightPublic Domain/Released by the United States Geological Survey (USGS)-Original image by Leo G. Nico/via wikipedia
Mylopharyngodon piceus (black amur); adult, in hand. USA.
AdultMylopharyngodon piceus (black amur); adult, in hand. USA.Public Domain/Released by the United States Geological Survey (USGS)-Original image by Leo G. Nico/via wikipedia

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Mylopharyngodon piceus Richardson, 1846

Preferred Common Name

  • black amur

Other Scientific Names

  • Barbus tonkinensis Sauvage, 1884
  • Leucisculus fuscus Oshima, 1920
  • Leuciscus aethiops Basilewsky, 1855
  • Leuciscus dubius Bleeker, 1865
  • Leuciscus piceus Richardson, 1846
  • Myloleuciscus atripinnis Garman, 1912
  • Mylopharyngodon aethiops Basilewsky, 1855

International Common Names

  • English: black carp; carp, black; Chinese roach

Local Common Names

  • Bangladesh: snail carp
  • Bulgaria: cheren amur
  • China/Hong Kong: hak waan
  • Japan: ai-uo
  • Malaysia: kap hitam
  • Mexico: caracolera; carpa negra
  • Poland: amur czarny
  • Romania: crap negru chinezese; scoicar
  • Russian Federation: tschernyi amur
  • Ukraine: chernyi amur; tschernyi amur

Summary of Invasiveness

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Establishment of M. piceus in the wild could have serious adverse impacts, due to predation on native mollusc species, including threatened and endangered species and fingernail clam populations, a primary food source of migrating waterfowl and fish. M. piceus are hosts to parasites, flukes, bacterial and viral diseases. It could possibly transfer these to other fish species. It serves as intermediate host for human parasites (e.g. schistosoma), or parasites relevant to fish culture, such as the yellow and white grubs in channel catfish and stripe bass farming.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Description

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M. piceus is a blackish-brown fish with blackish-grey fins and an elongated, relatively compressed body (USGS, 2004). Its scales are very large with dark edges, giving the fish a cross-hatched appearance (Crosier and Molloy, 2004). It has a pointed head with an arc-shaped terminal mouth (FAO, 2004). It has a short and pointed dorsal fin which is located above pelvic fins containing 7-8 rays (Crosier and Molloy, 2004). It can grow to a maximum length of 131 cm (Crosier and Molloy, 2004) and the largest specimen found to date [2004] is around 70 kg (FAO, 2004). M. piceus closely resembles the grass carp in appearance (body shape and size; coloration; appearance; position; shape of fins; position and size of eyes), but may be most easily distinguished by differences in the formation of the pharyngeal teeth (Crosier and Molloy, 2004) (see section on Anatomy).

Distribution

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Mylopharyngodon piceus is native to most pacific drainages in eastern Asia. It was first brought into the USA in the early 1970s as a contaminant of grass carp stocks and later as a food fish and biological control agent for use in aquaculture ponds (Nico and Neilson, 2018). Flooding at hatcheries has enabled escapes into open water (Nico and Neilson, 2018).

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

ArmeniaPresentIntroducedGabrielyan , 2001
BangladeshIntroduced, not establishedDIAS, 2004
ChinaPresentNativeBogutskaya and Naseka , 1996
-Hong KongPresentNativeMan and Hodgkiss , 1981
IsraelPresentIntroducedDIAS, 2004Probably not established
JapanPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988; Greathead and Greathead, 1992
KazakhstanPresentIntroducedBlanc et al. , 1971
MalaysiaPresentDepartment of Fisheries, 1987
TaiwanPresentIntroducedLiao and Lia , 1989; Greathead and Greathead, 1992
ThailandIntroduced, not establishedFroese and Pauly, 2011
TurkmenistanPresentIntroducedFroese and Pauly, 2011
UzbekistanPresentIntroducedKamilov and Urchinov , 1995
VietnamPresentNativeKottelat, 2001

Africa

EgyptPresentIntroducedDIAS, 2004
MoroccoPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988

North America

MexicoPresentNativeInstituto Nacional de la Pesca, 1994
USAPresentIntroducedChick et al. , 2003
-ArkansasPresentIntroducedNico, 2011
-IllinoisPresentIntroducedNico, 2011
-KentuckyPresentIntroducedNico and Neilson, 2018
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedNico, 2011
-MississippiPresentIntroducedNico, 2011
-MissouriPresentIntroducedNico, 2011
-TennesseePresentIntroducedNico and Neilson, 2018

Central America and Caribbean

Costa RicaPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive FAO, 1997
PanamaPresentIntroducedWelcomme, 1988

Europe

AlbaniaIntroduced, not establishedFroese and Pauly, 2011
AustriaIntroduced, not establishedIntroducedDAISIE, 2011; Froese and Pauly, 2011; NOBANIS, 2011
BelarusPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011
BulgariaPresentNativeBakardjiev , 2001
Czech RepublicIntroduced, not establishedFroese and Pauly, 2011
GermanyIntroduced, not establishedNOBANIS, 2011
HungaryPresentIntroduced Invasive Blanc et al. , 1971
LatviaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011; Froese and Pauly, 2011; NOBANIS, 2011
LithuaniaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011; NOBANIS, 2011
MoldovaPresentIntroducedFroese and Pauly, 2011
RomaniaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2011
Russian FederationPresentNativeBogutskaya and Naseka , 1996
SerbiaPresentIntroducedFroese and Pauly, 2011
SlovakiaIntroduced, not establishedFroese and Pauly, 2011
UkrainePresentIntroducedBlanc et al. , 1971

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Albania China Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No Welcomme (1988)
Armenia Russian Federation Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes Yes Gabrielyan (2001); Gabrielyan (2001)
Armenia Moldova Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes Yes Gabrielyan (2001); Gabrielyan (2001)
Austria Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No Welcomme (1988)
Bangladesh China 1983 Unknown No No Barua and et al. (2001)
Costa Rica Taiwan 1979 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes No Welcomme (1988)
Cuba Former USSR 1984 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government Yes No FAO (1997)
Cuba Vietnam 1984 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government Yes No FAO (1997)
Egypt 1993 Unknown No No FAO (1997)
Former USSR Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No Welcomme (1988)
Germany China 1970 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No Welcomme (1988)
Hungary China 1963 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government No Yes FAO (1997)
Hungary Russian Federation 1963 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government No Yes FAO (1997)
Israel 1976-1979 Unknown No Yes Golani and Mires (2000); Golani and Mires (2000)
Japan China 1878-1940 Unknown Yes No Welcomme (1988)
Kazakhstan Unknown No No Blanc and et al. (1971); Blanc et al. (1971)
Moldova Unknown No No Blanc and et al. (1971); Blanc et al. (1971)
Morocco Bulgaria 1980 Unknown No Yes Welcomme (1988)
Panama Taiwan 1978 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No Welcomme (1988)
Romania China 1960-1962 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Government No No FAO (1997)
Taiwan China pre-1700s Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No Welcomme (1988)
Thailand Hong Kong 1913 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No Welcomme (1988)
Thailand China 1913 Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No Welcomme (1988)
Ukraine Unknown No No Blanc and et al. (1971); Blanc et al. (1971)
USA Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown No No Chick and et al. (2003)
Vietnam China Aquaculture (pathway cause)Unknown Yes Yes Welcomme (1988)

Natural Food Sources

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Food SourceLife StageContribution to Total Food Intake (%)Details
zoobenthos (crustaceans) Adult/Fry
zoobenthos (insects) Adult/Fry
zoobenthos (molluscs) Adult/Fry

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
B - Dry (arid and semi-arid) Preferred < 860mm precipitation annually

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) <2.0 Harmful Adult
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) >5.0 Optimum Adult
Salinity (part per thousand) 0.0 Optimum Adult
Spawning temperature (ºC temperature) 22 28 Optimum Broodstock
Water pH (pH) <6.0 >10 Harmful Adult
Water pH (pH) 7.5 8.5 Optimum Adult
Water temperature (ºC temperature) <0.5 >40 Harmful Adult
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 18 30 Optimum Adult
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 22 28 Optimum Egg
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 22 28 Optimum Larval

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Escape from confinement or garden escapeEscaped from an aquaculture facility in Missouri Yes Nico, 2011

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Aquaculture stockBrought into the US in imported grass carp stocks Yes Nico, 2011

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Fisheries / aquaculture Positive
Native fauna Negative
Other Positive
Rare/protected species Negative
Trade/international relations Negative

Environmental Impact

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Nico et al. (2005) in Nico (2011) note "there is high potential that the black carp would negatively impact native aquatic communities by feeding on, and reducing, populations of native mussles and snails, many of which are considered endangered or threatened".

Impact: Biodiversity

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Establishment of Mylopharyngodon piceus populations in the wild could have serious adverse impacts, due to predation on native mollusc species, including threatened and endangered species and fingernail clam populations, a primary food source of migrating waterfowl and fish (Rothbard et al., 1996). M. piceus are hosts to parasites, flukes, bacterial and viral diseases. It could possibly transfer these to other fish species. It serves as intermediate host for human parasites (e.g. schistosoma), or parasites relevant to fish culture, such as the yellow and white grubs in channel catfish and stripe bass farming (Mitchell, 1995 as stated in Rothbard et al., 1996).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Impact outcomes
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Predation

Uses List

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Human food and beverage

  • Fresh meat
  • Whole

References

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Bakardjiev I, 2001. List of Bulgarian common names. Personal communication to FishBase. Online at www.fishbase.org. Accessed 13 October 2004.

Barua SP, Khan MMH, Ali Reza AHM, 2001. The status of alien invasive species in Bangladesh and their impact on the ecosystems. In: Balakrishna P, ed. Report of Workshop on Alien Invasive species, GBF-SSEA. Colombo. IUCN Regional Biodiversity Programme, Asia, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1-8.

Blanc M, Gaudet JL, Banarescu P, Hureau JC, 1971. European inland water fish: a multilingual catalogue. London: Fishing News (Books) Ltd.

Bogutskaya NG, Naseka AM, 1996. Cyclostomata and fishes of Khanka Lake drainage area (Amur river basin). An annotated check-list with comments on taxonomy and zoogeography of the region. Zool. Inst. Russ. Acad. Sci., 89 pp.

Butler, R. S., Biggins, R. G., 2004. In: Recovery Plan for Cumberland Elktoe (Alasmidonta atropurpurea), Oyster Mussel (Epioblasma capsaeformis), Cumberlandian Combshell (Epioblasma brevidens), Purple Bean (Villosa perpurpurea), and Rough Rabbitsfoot (Quadrula cylindrica strigillata). US Fish and Wildlife Service, ix + 168 pp..

Chick JH, Maher RJ, Burr BM, Thomas MR, 2003. First black carp captured in US. Science, 300:1876-1877.

Crosier DM, Molloy DP, 2004. Mylopharyngodon piceus - Black Carp. Online at www.wes.army.mil/el/ansrp/mylopharyngodon_piceus.htm. Accessed on 10 June 2004.

Cui J, Ren X, Yu Q, 1991. Nuclear DNA content variation in fishes. Cytologia, 56(3):425-429.

DAISIE, 2011. European Invasive Alien Species Gateway. http://www.europe-aliens.org/

Department of Fisheries, 1987. Annual fishery statistics. Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia.

DIAS, 2004. FAO Database on Introductions of Aquatic Species. Online at www.fao.org/figis/. Accessed 25 February 2005.

EPA, 2004. Injurious Wildlife Species; Black Carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus). Online at www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-IMPACT/2002/July/Day-30/i19158.htm. Accessed 4 June 2004.

FAO, 1997. FAO Database on Introduced Aquatic Species. FAO, Rome, Italy: Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

FAO, 2004. The biology of major freshwater cultivated fishes in China. Online at www.fao.org/docrep/field/003/AC233E/AC233E01.htm. Accessed 4 June 2004.

FishBase, 2004. Entry for Mylopharyngodon piceus. Main ref. Bogutskaya NG, Naseka AM, 1996. Cyclostomata and fishes of Khanka Lake drainage area (Amur river basin). An annotated check-list with comments on taxonomy and zoogeography of the region. Zool. Inst. Russ. Acad. Sci., 44. Online at www.fishbase.org. Accessed 9 June 2004.

Froese R, Pauly D, 2011. FishBase. http://www.fishbase.org

Gabrielyan BK, 2001. An annotated checklist of freshwater fishes of Armenia. Naga, 24(3/4):23-29.

Golani D, Mires D, 2000. Introduction of fishes to the freshwater system of Israel. Isr. J. Aquacult./Bamidgeh, 52(2):47-60.

Greathead DJ, Greathead AH, 1992. Biological control of insect pests by insect parasitoids and predators: the BIOCAT database. Biocontrol News and Information, 13(4):61N-68N.

Instituto Nacional de la Pesca, 1994. Atlas pesquero de México. Instituto Nacional de la Pesca, 234 pp.

Kamilov G, Urchinov Zh U, 1995. Fish and fisheries in Uzbekistan under the impact of irrigated agriculture. In: Petr T, ed. Inland fisheries under the impact of irrigated agriculture: Central Asia. FAO Fisheries Circular No. 894, 10-41.

Klinkhardt M, Tesche M, Greven H, 1995. Database of fish chromosomes. Westarp Wissenschaften, 179 pp.

Kottelat M, 2001. Freshwater fishes of northern Vietnam. A preliminary check-list of the fishes known or expected to occur in northern Vietnam with comments on systematics and nomenclature. Environment and Social Development Unit, East Asia and Pacific Region. The World Bank. Freshwater Fish, Vietnam, 123 pp.

Liao I-C, Lia H-C, 1989. Exotic aquatic species in Taiwan. In: De Silva SS, ed. Exotic aquatic organisms in Asia. Proceedings of the Workshop on Introduction of Exotic Aquatic Organisms in Asia. Asian Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. 3, Asian Fisheries Society, Manila, Philippines, 101-118.

Man SH, Hodgkiss IJ, 1981. Hong Kong freshwater fishes. Hong Kong: Urban Council, Wishing Printing Company, 75 pp.

Nico LG, 2011. Mylopharyngodon piceus. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida, USA: USGS. http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=573

Nico LG, Neilson ME, 2018. Mylopharyngodon piceus. USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida, USA: USGS. http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=573

NOBANIS, 2011. North European and Baltic Network on Invasive Alien Species. http://www.nobanis.org/

Rothbard S, Rubinshtein I, Shelton WL, 1996. The Black Carp, Mylopharyngodon piceus, as a Biocontrol of Freshwater Molluscs, YAFIT Laboratory, Fish Breeding Center, Israel, University of Oklahoma.

Welcomme RL, 1988. International introductions of inland aquatic species. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper, No. 294:x + 318 pp.

Contributors

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Main Author
Sunil Siriwardena
Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA, UK

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