Aquaculture Feed and Fertilizer Resources Information System

Silver carp - Hypophthalmichthys molitrix

(Valenciennes, 1844) [Cyprinidae]

FAO official common names: Fr - Carpe argentée; Es - Carpa plateada

Taxonomic and biological features:

Distinguishing characters
Body club-shaped with knife-edged abdominal ridge, extending from base of pectoral fin to front of anus. End of pectoral fin does not exceed beyond base of pelvic fin and pelvic fins in front of origin of dosal. Large head with short and blunt snout. Eyes small, set below mouth level. Mouth wide and slightly superior, with gyroidal suprabranchial organ at the back of the mouth and lower jaw protuberant. Large operculum. Gill rakers attached to each other to form a sieve. Pharyngeal teeth in single row. Scales minute. Swim bladder large with two lobes (Zhang, et al., 1989). Intestine long and convolute. Colour mainly silver with darker colouration on back. Morphology and anatomy of silver carp is well described by Meng and Su (1960).

Generally, silver carp mature at 70 cm TL (5 kg) at an age of 3 to 4 years. The species is highly fecund (Table 1). Natural spawning occurs in the upper reaches of fast flowing rivers with a minimum depth of 40 cm and a current speed of 1.3–2.5 m/s. Final egg maturation and spawning is induced by rising water level and temperature. Minimum water temperature for spawning is 18 ºC. The eggs are pelagic (1.3–1.91 mm diameter) and their size increases rapidly after fertilization. Egg development and time to hatch is temperature dependent (60 hours at 18 ºC, 35 hours at 22–23 ºC, 24 hours at 28–29 ºC, 20 hours at 29–30 ºC (Lei et al. 1984).