Common name: Common Carp
Scientific name: Cyprinus carpio (Linnaeus, 1758)
Family: Cyprinidae
Order: Cypriniformes
Class: Actinopterygii
Irish name: Carbán
Irish record angling fish: 13.53kg (1998, The Lough, Cork)
Native species: No; Introduced many times since the 16th Century but only became established since the 1950’s with introductions from the UK for angling purposes5;
Hybrids: None

Identifying features

Mouth inferior, with thick lips and two pairs of barbels, one pair long; tail-fin forked; dorsal fin long; a barbed, bony ray in the origin of the dorsal and in the origin of the anal fin; several varieties, differing considerably in scaling and height of body, including

  • (a) common carp, fully scaled carp;
  • (b) mirror carp, with some greatly enlarged and shining scales (sometimes in rows, sometimes haphazardly distributed) on otherwise naked bodies;
  • (c) leather carp, with a thick skin and only a few scales or none;
  • (d) a leaden-coloured form, which appears naked, but really has a full covering of very thin scales entirely devoid of pigment4.

Environment and Habitat

Occur on the bottom or midwaters of a water body; migrate within freshwater only1; found in lowland, mesotrophic lakes and rivers; require plenty of vegetation; populations flourish in warm waters; require temperatures of 18°C to breed2;

European distribution

Range spans from Europe to Asia: One of the first species to be introduced into other countries and now globally distributed; 60°N - 40°N;

Economic value

Valuable for coarse angling tourism; no commercial fishery;

Red list status

Native populations are designated vulnerable; not endangered in Ireland.

Irish legislation status

Protected by Coarse Fish bye-law No. 806, 2006: maximum 4 fish per angler per day; no killing of coarse fish > 25cm.

EU legislation status