Besides the common carp, there is also mirror carp which has only a few scales, and scale free leather carp.

Cyprinus carpio – Linné, 1758
Cyprinidae Family


Common carp has a prolonged, thick body completely covered in scales. Its massive head features a mouth with four hair moustache, and it can be stretched in the shape of a tube with which carp searches for and sucks the food from the water floor. Its only back fin has at the beginning a very sharp tooth. According to the habitat, its colour varies from white gold to brown on the back, and becomes lighter, with copper highlights, along the flank line and ends with more or less lighter stomach.

Habitat and behaviour

It seems that carp prefer calm waters or waters with a slower flow, which heat up a lot in summertime. They are especially fond of waters rich with vegetation, and they can also stand a small percentage of dissolved oxygen. In their first years of life they prefer migrating in shoals, but as they grow older larger specimens prefer solitude. Carp activity is nocturnal and daily, but in any case it is connected to the water temperature. In cold water carp limit their movements and feeding activity and spend less and less energy.

Way of feeding

During their entire lifetime, carp feed on larvae, insects, soft animals..but also various vegetation such as plant shoots, seeds, roots… They endlessly search mud on the water floor, up to 20 cm deep. Young carp feed on plancton, and older ones can also become predators.


In order for carp to propagate, water temperature needs to be at least 20 degrees Celsius during ten days in a row. As soon as that temperature is reached, in some waters already in May, and more often in June and July, female carp migrate toward grassy areas. Here they lay about 120.000 to 130.000 eggs per kilogram of weight, which for a female of 15 kg means more than 1.8 million eggs. A spawn comes out 4-5 days after it's fertilized by a male carp.

Foreign names

Karpfen, karp (German); carpa, carpio (Italian); karpa (Spanish); carpe (French); saran (Croatian).


Average life span: 15 to 30 years
Average size: 50 cm to 1 m
Average weight: 5 to 37 kg

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