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Hypophthalmichthys molitrix  (Valenciennes, 1844)

Silver carp
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Hypophthalmichthys molitrix
Picture by Naseka, A.M.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Cypriniformes (Carps) > Cyprinidae (Minnows or carps) > Xenocyprinae
Etymology: Hypophthalmichthys: Greek, hypo = under + Greek, ophthalmos = eye + Greek, ichthys = fish (Ref. 45335);  molitrix: molitrix, approximately grinder (referring to the pharyngeal grinding apparatus) (Ref. 10294).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Freshwater; benthopelagic; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 20 m (Ref. 6898).   Subtropical; 6°C - 28°C (Ref. 37797); 64°N - 43°S

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 51.7  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 105 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); common length : 18.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 35840); max. published weight: 50.0 kg (Ref. 30578)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 1 - 3; Dorsal soft rays (total): 6-7; Anal spines: 1-3; Anal soft rays: 10 - 14. Body olivaceous to silvery. Barbels absent. Keels extend from isthmus to anus. Edge of last simple dorsal ray not serrated. Branched anal rays 12-13.5 (Ref. 13274). Differs from Hypophthalmichthys nobilis by having sharp scaleless keel from pectoral region to anal origin, 650-820 long, slender gill rakers, head length 24-29% SL, and plain pale coloration, greenish grey above, whitish below (Ref. 59043).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Asia: Native to most major Pacific dainages of East Asia from Amur to Xi Jiang, China (Ref. 59043). China and Eastern Siberia. Introduced around the world for aquaculture and control of algal blooms. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction (Ref. 1739). Often confused with Hypophthalmichthys nobilis (Ref. 59043).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Found in their natural range in rivers with marked water-level fluctuations and overwinters in middle and lower stretches, swimming just beneath the surface. They feed in shallow (0.5-1.0 m deep) and warm (over 21°C) backwaters, lakes and flooded areas with slow current on phytoplankton and zooplankton (Ref. 30578, 10294). Bigger individuals from about 1.5 cm SL feed only on phytoplankton while larvae and small juveniles prey on zooplankton (Ref. 59043). Adults breed in rivers or tributaries over shallow rapids with gravel or sand bottom, in upper water layer or even at surface during floods when the water level increases by 50-120 cm above normal level. Conditions for spawning include high current (0.5-1.7 m/s), turbid water, temperatures above 15°C (usually 18-26°C) and high oxygen concentrations (Ref. 59043). Spawning ceases if conditions change (especially sensitive to water-level fall) and resumes again when water level increases. Juveniles and adults form large schools during spawning season. Mature individuals undertake long distance upriver migration at start of a rapid flood and water-level increase, able to leap over obstacles up to 1 m. After spawning, adults migrate to foraging habitats, In autumn, adults move to deeper places in main course of river where they remain without feeding. Larvae drift downstream and settle in floodplain lakes, shallow shores and backwaters with little or no current (Ref. 59043). In aquaculture, it can survive brackish water (up to 7 ppt) when released into estuaries and coastal lakes (Ref. 59043). Escape from fish farms are widely known even as they are stocked in large rivers and almost all still water bodies like lakes and ponds. Utilized fresh for human consumption and also introduced to many countries where its ability to clean reservoirs and other waters of clogging algae is appreciated even more than its food value (Ref. 9987). One of among 3 or 4 species of cyprinids whose world production in aquaculture exceeds 1 million tons per year (Ref. 30578).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Skelton, P.H., 1993. A complete guide to the freshwater fishes of southern Africa. Southern Book Publishers. 388 p. (Ref. 7248)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Potential pest




Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial
FAO(Aquaculture: production, species profile; fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.6250   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01148 (0.00893 - 0.01476), b=3.05 (2.98 - 3.12), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  2.0   ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.16-0.29; tm=2-6).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate to high vulnerability (52 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Unknown.