Common carp

Cyprinus carpio carpio

The true Common Carp, the base form for all cultivated carp, is endangered, but is being protected and boosted in the Donau-Auen National Park.

Description
Typical length: up to 50cm, with a maximum of 1.2m. Elongated body somewhat pressed together on the sides; mouth with four barbels. Long dorsal fins, markedly notched tail fin. Colouring grey-green to mud-coloured, belly lighter. Fins may be reddish.

Distribution
In Central Europe: favours vegetation-rich, slow-moving or stagnant bodies of water, in particular oxbow lakes with lush growth on the banks and fine sediment layers. The Common Carp requires newly-flooded damp meadows for spawning. At present, the only remaining small reproductive populations in Austria may be found around the Danube east of Vienna.

Endangerment and Conservation Status
Endangered in Europe. Due to the loss of spawning environments caused by river regulation, the species is critically endangered on the Danube. Another threat comes in the form of pressure exerted by fisheries and breeding with diverse cultivated species.

Behaviour
The Common Carp's diet consists mostly of small ground animals, but also plant-based nutrients. During the cold season, the Common Carp hibernates in deeper parts of bodies of water. Reproduction: after a water temperature of 18-20 degrees Celsius has been reached, the sticky eggs are attached to aquatic plants in shallow water or on flooded grasses.

Special Characteristics
The cultivated form of the Common Carp is less heavy-bodied; other types of carp exhibit changed or reduction in the number of scales. A special promotional and breeding project in cooperation with the fisheries lobby should help ensure the survival of this species.