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Black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus)

Black carp Common Names: Asian carp, snail carp, Chinese black carp, black amur, Chinese roach, black Chinese roach

Description: Imported for snail control in catfish farms in the early 1970s; escaped in Missouri in 1994 when holding ponds flooded. Still used by fish farmers to control snails that host a catfish parasite.

Identification: Up to 60 inches, 150 pounds; blackish brown to dark olive with a white belly, blackish grey fins; broad, blunt head, slightly downturned mouth, no barbels; no keel; large "chain-link" scales.

Habitat: Native to eastern Asia. Found in large rivers, lakes and ponds.

Reproduction: Mature at 6-11 years of age and at that time begin to reproduce annually. Females are capable of producing 129,000 to 1.18 million eggs each year. Young feed on zooplankton and change to mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic insects and fish eggs as they mature. They have powerful teeth and can eat 3-4 lbs of mussels per day.

Impact and Damage: Black carp stay near or on the bottom and feed heavily on snails and mussels, posing a rish to native mollusks, many of which are endangered or threatened. Their life span exceeds 15 years and they can eat 3-4 pounds of mussels a day.

Similar species: Closely resembles the grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) in which both are similar in body shape, size and placement of fins.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from "Invaders of the Great Lakes" produced by Wildlife Forever and the Sea Grant Great Lakes Network.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( Individual photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (


Priority Species

Common Name:

Black carp

Scientific Name:

Mylopharyngodon piceus





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