Asp

Aspius aspius

The Asp is the only European carp which is purely predatory; it is one of the rare piscivore carp types. Once extremely widespread, the Asp is nowadays rare.

Description
Very elongated body; greyish-blue colouring with green back and white belly. Length of up to 1m and weight up to 10kg. Very small scales. Large mouth, lower jaw has a hook which fits into the corresponding notch in the upper jaw.

Distribution
From southern Scandinavia to Central Europe and all the way to the Caspian Sea; mouths of the tributaries of the Danube, Rhine, Main, Oder, Elbe and their former river branches; select lakes. The Asp ideally alternates between currents and stagnant waters, but today, the connections between such waters have been largely destroyed.

Endangerment and Conservation Status
Endangered in Europe; In Austria, including the Danube, classified as vulnerable.

Behaviour
During its youth the Asp lives sociably near the water's surface where it feeds on small animals of all kinds. As it ages, it becomes more and more of a loner and hunts fish which it attacks on the surface. Spawning takes place from April to June; eggs are laid on submerged gravel banks.

Special Characteristics
Migrations of up to 160km have been documented on tagged fish!