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Research Document 2016/102

Updated (2003–2015) biological synopsis of Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)

By Jones. L.A., Mandrak, N.E., and Cudmore, B.


Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) has been introduced worldwide from its native range in Eastern Asia. This species was first introduced in the United States in the early 1960s and has since established reproducing populations in several major rivers of the United States. Impacts associated with Grass Carp introductions include changes to aquatic vegetation and habitat, community structure and processes, and water quality. Given its potential to invade Canadian watersheds via waterways connected to the Mississippi River basin, live trade, or other pathways, there is considerable concern for their potential ecological impacts if introduced to Canada. Using information on Grass Carp biology, a risk assessment conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in 2004 identified Grass Carp to be a high ecological risk to Canada if introduced. Such risk assessments need to be adaptive, taking into account new approaches and data. This biological synopsis is intended to update information on Grass Carp, specifically focusing on the literature published between 2003 and early 2015, and will be used to inform a binational Grass Carp risk assessment. Current knowledge on the distribution, taxonomy, ecology and impacts of Grass Carp are outlined in this report, and includes details on the longevity, physiological tolerance, diet, fecundity, adaptability, and dispersal potential of Grass Carp where it has been studied.

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