Grass Carp

Ctenopharyngodon idella

If you think you have discovered an aquatic invasive species, you should:

  1. 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 it as an aquatic invasive species, depending on where you are
  6. find out more about aquatic invasive species

Grass Carp has a wide, scaleless head, a terminal to subterminal mouth without teeth, no barbels, a slightly lengthened upper jaw and a very short snout. It is one of the largest members of the cyprinid family. The body is slender and fairly compressed, with a rounded belly and a slightly downward lateral line on the sides extending along the middle of the depth of the tail. Its dorsal fin begins above, or just in front of, the start of the pelvic fin, and is short compared to that of Common Carp. Scales are very large with dark edges, giving a cross-hatched appearance. The colouring of adult Grass Carp is dark grey on the dorsal surface with lighter sides (white to yellow) that have a slightly golden shine, blending to white towards the belly. Its fins are clear to grey-brown. Individuals can grow to 45 kilograms, reach lengths greater than 1 metre, and life between between 5 and 11 years. Adult Grass Carp primarily eat aquatic vegetation, often uprooting large areas of vegetation which can lead to increased turbidity and poorer water quality.

An illustration of the Grass Carp, a species of Asian carp. The locations of the dorsal, anal and pelvic fins, its curved lateral line from gill to tail, as well as its lack of barbels are indicated on the illustration. Illustration by © Joseph R. Tomelleri

An illustration of the Grass Carp, a species of Asian carp. The locations of the dorsal, anal and pelvic fins, its curved lateral line from gill to tail, as well as its lack of barbels are indicated on the illustration. Illustration by © Joseph R. Tomelleri

Grass Carp

Grass Carp

For more information, please visit:

Date modified: