Bighead Carp
Hypophthalmichthys nobilis

An illustration of Bighead Carp, a species of Asian carp. The locations of the eyes, dorsal, anal and pelvic fins, as well as its lack of barbels are indicated on the illustration. Illustration by © Joseph R. Tomelleri

Do you think you have discovered an aquatic invasive species?

  1. Do not return the species to the water.
  2. Note the exact location (GPS coordinates) and the observation date.
  3. Take photos.
  4. Take note of identifying features.
  5. Report an Aquatic Invasive Species, depending on where you are.
  6. What you can do to reduce the risk.

Bighead Carp has a large, scaleless head, and a terminal, toothless mouth. Bighead Carp do not have barbels (the whisker-like appendages found near the corners of the mouth). Its eyes lie below the centre line of its body. It is greyish on top and cream on the underside, with grey to black blotches on its back and sides, and has small, curved scales. Similar to Silver Carp, but Bighead Carp tend to have a slightly wider body. Unlike Silver Carp, Bighead gill rakers are not fused together and appear more like combs. Rakers are adapted for general use, for filtration of zooplankton and some phytoplankton; the microscopic animals and plants on which it primarily feeds. Individuals can grow to more than 40 kilograms, lengths of up to 1.5 metres, and live up to 16 years of age. Bighead and Silver carps have been known to hybridize.

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