Asian Carps
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Confused with Carp

 

In the Baseline Knowledge Survey for Ontario, it was discovered that 26% of Ontarians believe that they can identify an Asian carp. While only 3% of Ontarians know that there are four species of Asian carp. As such, there are many incorrect reports of Asian carps directed to the Invading Species Hotline. This implies that the public, while receiving the message about the risks of Asian carp, are still unable to properly differentiate Asian carps from native lookalikes. Here are a few of the main lookalikes that often get confused with carp! 

If you are ever unsure of what you catch and you think it might be invasive, report it to the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711.

Fallfish

Fallfish are typically dark olive to black on their backs, fading down to silvery white on their bellies. They are usually around 17cm long but can reach lengths of 50 cm. Fallfish have a blunted nose and mouth, whereas Grass Carp have a pointed snout area. Fallfish also have a much longer dorsal fin and eyes that are set much farther back towards the gills, compared to the Grass Carp, which has a narrow dorsal fin and forward set eyes. Though sometimes hidden, the Fallfish also has small barbels at the corners of its mouth, which are absent on the Grass Carp.

Range Map for Fallfish

(modified from http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T202371A18231202.en)
 

White Sucker


White Sucker are dark green, grey, brown, or black with a light underbelly. They can grow up to 30 to 50 cm long. White Sucker have a straight lateral line running from gills to tail, where a Grass Carp has a curved line. They also have a distinctive sucker mouth that protrudes downwards and has eyes very close to the top of its head, unlike that of the Grass Carp.

Range Map for White Sucker

(modified from http://www.roughfish.com/sites/default/files/suk_whs.png)
 

Gizzard Shad

Gizzard Shad are silver blue on the back and silver white underneath and on average are between 28 to 40 cm but can reach up to 50 cm long. The last segment on the Gizzard Shad dorsal fin is long and whip-like, extending past all other dorsal segments, where the carp’s dorsal fins do not. Also, the eye of a Gizzard Shad is above the mouth and lateral line where on a Bighead/Silver carp, the eye is located below the midline and mouth of the fish. 

Range Map for Gizzard Shad

(modified from http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=492)

Mooneye

Mooneye tend to have a silvery body with darker fins; on average they are 30 cm long, but can reach lengths of 45 cm. The best way to tell a Mooneye from a Silver Carp is to look at its eye. Mooneye, as the name suggests, has a very large eye that takes up the majority of its face, and is located above the mouth opening. Silver Carp’s eyes are below the mouth opening. Also, Silver Carp have a distinctively curved lateral line where a Mooneye has a straight lateral line.

Range Map for Mooneye

(modified from http://www.roughfish.com/mooneye)