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

Chapter 5: Native Geographic Distribution


The native range of black carp Mylopharyngodon piceus includes most major Pacific drainages of eastern Asia from about 22°N to about 51°N latitude (Figure 5.1). Included are the Amur River, Huang River, Chang River, and West River (with Pearl River delta) basins, several smaller basins of eastern China that drain to the Pacific, and possibly the Red River (Vietnam). In relation to political boundaries, the native distribution includes much of the eastern half of China, parts of far eastern Russia, and northern Vietnam, if the Red River is indeed part of the native range. Berg (1949), IHAS (1976), Li and Fang (1990), and Evtushenko et al. (1994) provided the most detailed range account summaries for the species. Nevertheless, native distribution questions remain due to incomplete information, use of dated or unrecognizable site names, and inclusion of nonnative locations.

Only a few publications (Fan 1990; Li and Fang 1990; Bíró 1999) provide maps showing the distribution of black carp in eastern Asia or China. With a few exceptions, these maps approximate the native distribution, even though they do not completely agree on the species peripheral range boundary. The map in Fan (1990), the 1990 Conservation Atlas of China, limits itself to areas within that country. In sharp contrast to the others, it shows the northern distribution of black carp extending only to the extreme southern part of the Amur basin. The Atlas map also shows the range of black carp to include the large island of Hainan, off the coast of southeastern China. It is doubtful that Fan (1990) and his compilers considered Hainan to be part of the native range. According to Li and Fang (1990), the native distribution of black carp (and the other Chinese carps) is not well known. Their map, which also includes the distribution of the other Chinese carps, is more detailed and of more scientific interest because it uses symbols to designate distribution rather than shading. Bíró (1999) states that the terra typical of the black carp is the West River system in Guangzhou, China. His map shows the native range reaching from the Amur River basin south to, and including, the lower Red River basin of northern Vietnam.