Black Carp: Biological Synopsis and Risk Assessment of an Introduced Fish

Chapter 4: Description and Distinguishing Characteristics


Many authors have published basic descriptions of black carp Mylopharyngodon piceus, typically addressing various aspects of their external and internal anatomy and coloration. A few of the more detailed and useful general descriptions are in Chinese (e.g., Wu et al. 1964a; Chu 1984). To the reader, it may seem that some information is contradictory, for example, in treatment of body shape and color. Some differences are likely due to actual differences among different sized fish or fresh versus preserved material. There is also the possibility that there exists variation among different populations, possibly because of environmental effects (e.g., lake versus riverine populations). Nevertheless, modifiers used to describe certain characteristics are rather subjective (e.g., small versus moderate-size eyes). For the sake of completeness, we include comments from many diverse authors, when relevant (to avoid misinterpretation), retaining the original investigator’s choice of words (or that of the translator). We have examined juvenile and adult black carp specimens that we received from an aquaculture facility. Consequently, we provide a few observations of our own. Table 4.1 provides counts and measurement data on black carp useful for identification and descriptive purposes.