Chesapeake Bay Introduced Species Database


Ctenopharyngodon idella

Common name(s):
Grass Carp
Grass Carp are freshwater herbivores. They eat aquatic plants and were imported to the United States, Europe, Africa, Japan, Mexico, and other areas to control unwanted aquatic plants. They are native to China and Russia and are cultivated in China for food. They were first brought to the United States in 1963 from Malaysia by researchers at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Fish Farming Experimental station. At the time people thought that if the fish were only used in lakes and other slow moving water bodies they would not become established because they need large swift-flowing rivers to reproduce. But, they were wrong and very soon they had established breeding populations in the lower Mississippi drainage. They've now been introduced to 45 states. The fact that Grass Carp eat aquatic vegetation is useful in areas with high densities of introduced aquatic weeds. But Grass Carp don?t discriminate between aquatic weeds and valuable native submerged vegetation, they eat them all. Trying to balance the desire to control aquatic weeds and introducing a nonnative fish that eats native plants led to efforts to develop nonreproductive fish for weed control. These sterile triploids are stocked in some states, such as Virginia and banned in others, including Maryland. So far there is no evidence of reproduction by these triplod fish in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Image courtesy of Pavel Dvorak.

References:

Allen, Standish K., Wattendorf, Robert J. (1987) Triploid grass carp: Status and management implications, Fisheries 12: 20-24
 
Anonymous (1994) It's harvest season in the Potomac, Water Environment - Technology 6: 24-25
 
Bain, Mark B. (1993) Assessing impacts of introduced aquatic species: grass carp in large systems, Environmental Management 17: 211-224
 
Griffin, B. R. (1991) The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's triploid grass carp inspection program, Aquaculture Magazine 17: 69-72
 
Guillory, Vincent; Gasaway, Robert D. (1978) Zoogeography of the grass carp in the United States, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 107: 105-112
 
Maceina, M. J.; Nordlie, F. G.; Shireman, J. V. (1980) The influence of salinity on oxygen consumption and plasma electrolytes in grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idella Val., Journal of Fish Biology 16: 613-619
 
McKnight, S. Keith; Hepp, Gary R. (1995) Potential effect of grass carp herbivory on waterfowl foods, journal of Wildlife Management 59: 720-727
 
Pierce, Barry A. (1983) Grass carp status in the United States: a review, Environmental Management 7: 151-160
 
Raibley, Paul T.; Blodgett, Douglas; Sparks, R. E. (1995) Evidence of grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) reproduction in the Illinois and upper Missisippi River, Journal of Freshwater Ecology 10: 65-74
 
Schultz, Summer L.; Steinkoenig, Ed. L.; Brown, Bonnie L. (2001) Ploidy of feral grass carp in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, North American Journal of Fisheries Management 21: 96-101
 
Terlizzi, Daniel E. (1996) Toward regional management of aquatic nuisance species in the Chesapeake Bay basin, Aquatic Nuisance Species Digest 1: 38, 46-47
 


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