Ecology of Cyprinus carpio
Main Ref. Alikunhi, K.H., 1966
Remarks Inhabit lakes, ponds or slow moving waters, preferably with a muddy bottom; riverine conditions do not appear to suit the carp. Though they occur naturally in open river systems they are never known to dominate the environment. Larger fish generally frequent deeper waters. Common carp are acclimated to a variety of habitats and extremes of environment, eg high salinities and low oxygen concentrations (Ref. 6390). They have been observed to gulp air at the surface of oxygen-depleted waters (Ref. 30478). During winter carp go into deeper water which will be comparatively warmer than water in shallow areas. They are now established in the wild in Zimbabwe (Ref. 4967). Common carps are active swimmers that can leap obstacles up to 1 meter high and negotiate torrential flows (Ref. 2906). Feed on detritus, plants and benthic organisms (Ref. 6258, 10294). They feed by 'roiling', ie straining material from the mud (Ref. 6390). They will also take aquatic plants and insects from the surface (Ref. 2906). Also Ref. 9666.

Aquatic zones / Water bodies

Marine - Neritic Marine - Oceanic Brackishwater Freshwater
Marine zones / Brackish and freshwater bodies
  • supra-littoral zone
  • littoral zone
  • sublittoral zone
  • epipelagic
  • mesopelagic
  • epipelagic
  • abyssopelagic
  • hadopelagic
  • estuaries/lagoons/brackish seas
  • mangroves
  • marshes/swamps
  • rivers/streams
  • lakes/ponds
  • caves
  • exclusively in caves
Highighted items on the list are where Cyprinus carpio may be found.


Substrate Ref.
Special habitats
Special habitats Ref. Halwart, M. and M.V. Gupta, 2004


Associated with
Association remarks


Feeding type plants/detritus+animals (troph. 2.2-2.79)
Feeding type Ref. Maitland, P.S. and R.N. Campbell, 1992
Feeding habit hunting macrofauna (predator)
Feeding habit Ref. Maitland, P.S. and R.N. Campbell, 1992
Trophic Level(s)
Estimation method Original sample Unfished population Remark
Troph s.e. Troph s.e.
From diet composition 3.06 2.95 0.40 Troph of adults from 1 study.
From individual food items 3.05 0.39 Trophic level estimated from a number of food items using a randomized resampling routine.
Ref. Specziár, A., L. Tölg and P. Biró, 1997
(e.g. 346)
(e.g. cnidaria)
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