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Crucian Carp invasion of Turkish & Iraqi inland waters Firas Abdul Malik Fish Biologist 1

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Crucian Carp invasion of Turkish & Iraqi inland waters


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Crucian Carp invasion of Turkish & Iraqi inland waters

Firas Abdul MalikFish Biologist


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Introduction: Crucian carp (Carassius carassius) (Linnaeus, 1758) the most

freshwater fish that inhabits in every place of Japan, China and most of Europe including Russia (Copp & Sayer, 2010).  The Crucian Carp is the smallest of the Carp family It is easily distinguished from a small common carp by the absence of barbels. They live in lakes or stagnant areas of rivers. This fish small head and mouth and an up-turned lower lip. It tends to be rusty-bronze in color with a gold-orange colored belly (Jasim,2009). Basic cyprinid characteristics include no teeth on the jaws, a single dorsal fin, pelvic fins in an abdominal position, pectoral fins low on the side, and no adipose fin. (Aydin, et al., 2011 & Pamela, et al., 2006). Crucian carp can grow to about (20-30) cm maximum length, they can live up to 10 years, although older-living individuals have been known (Taran, et al., 2000). Crucian carp prefer small, nutrient-rich ponds and lakes. They are very hardy fish: has an amazing ability to survive for months with almost no oxygen. This is an adaption to allow survival in ponds that are frozen over and covered with snow - survive water temperatures up to (38oC) (Yilmaz, et al., 2004). and can live in acidic waters where the pH can be as low as 4. Crucian carp are also very tolerant of pollution, especially organic types (Radi,2012). 2

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Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Cypriniformes

Family: Cyprinidae

Genus: Carassius

Species: carassius

Local name: Shokhatt



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External Anatomy:

Figure (1): Crucian carp anatomy.

Source: Jasim,(2009).


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Figure (2): A. Crucian Vs. Gold fish.


Fish Distinguish:

Figure (3): A. Crucian Vs. common carp.

Source: (Radi,2012).

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Video (1): Crucian carp - YouTube.

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Source: (Pamela, et al., 2006). 

Figure (4): Native distribution of Crucian carp (in dark blue). 7

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Main producer countries :

Source: (Freyhof & Kottelat, 2008). 

Figure (5): Crucian carp inhabits lakes, rivers and reservoirs in various countries in Asia and Europe. (in orange).


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Figure (6): Global aquaculture production of Crucian carp. 9

Source: (Freyhof & Kottelat, 2008). 

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Crucian carp in Turkey:

C. carassius is native to Turkey. Species of the genus Carassius were transported to numerous inland water bodies throughout Turkey perhaps because of the physical similarity of the species to the native common carp (Cyprinus carpio Linnaeus, 1758). As a result of mis-identification, the expansion of species were not noticed. These species are now common in natural habitats, altered waters, park and garden ponds in various parts of Turkey. (Innal,2011). Introduction of fish species in Turkey, like elsewhere in the world, has had both positive and negative implications. But the impact of most introductions of fishes is still unknown. Abundance and distribution of Carassius species in Turkey continuous to increase steadily, and are now considered a threat factor for native fish species.


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Ecosystem type City Localities

Reservoir‐Pond Balıkesir İkizcetepeler

Reservoir‐Pond & Natural Lake Isparta Karacaören I & Kovada

Natural Lake Burdur Karataş

Stream‐Creek Kars Kars

Reservoir‐Pond Kütahya Kayaboğazı

Reservoir‐Pond & River Antalya Köprüçay & Kepez I

Natural Lake Adapazarı Küçük Akgöl

Natural Lake Manisa Marmara

Reservoir‐Pond Sinop Muhsinli & Nisa

Reservoir‐Pond Muğla Mumcular


Source: (Innal,2011)

Table (1): Distribution of C. carassius in the inland waters of Turkey:

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Table (1): Distribution of C. carassius in the inland waters of Turkey:Ecosystem type City Localities

Natural Lake Van Nazik

Lagoon Edirne Pamuklu

Natural Lake Adapazarı Sapanca

Reservoir‐Pond Afyon Selevir

Natural Lake Adapazarı Taşkısığı

Natural Lake Bursa Uluabat

Reservoir‐Pond Hatay Yarseli

Reservoir‐Pond Kütahya Yedigölller

Natural Lake Bolu Yeniçağa

Stream‐Creek Kayseri Zamantı


Source: (Innal,2011)

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Table (2): Environmental characteristics of Crucian carp:Reference Characteristics

5,18 Adapt to natural waters

4 Adapt to altered waters

4,5,18 Adapt to various physical and chemical factors

5 High reproductive potential

3,4,5,18 Dominancy

5 Invasive tendency

3, 5,19 Harmful competition with native species

5 Hybridization with native species

2,12 Host or a intermediate host of parasites

5 Interspecific competition

References included in Table (2): , [2] Aydogdu, (2006); [3] Balik & Ustaoglu, (2006); [4] Becer et al., (1998); [5] Cetinkaya et al., (1999); [12] Koyun, (2001); [18] Taran et al., (2000); [19] Yilmaz, (2004).


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Crucian carp in Iraq:

C. carassius is one of the scavengers fish. It can eat anything in the aquatic body like brushwood. This fish maturate in less than one year while other local fish maturation extend four years like shabout & Gattan or two year like Bunni. (Radi, 2012). Inhabit and sweeping of environment affecting on the growth and life of original fishes. Because all local Iraqi fish don't tolerate turbidity because this type is bottom-feeder besides the ability of crucian to reproduce with other cyprinids type making sterile individuals in some cases (Fahd, 2012). So, it is important to obtain the balanced between this fish and other original fishes by controlling the release of this fish from Turkish dams and other aquatic bodies in order not to invade these bodies by foreign type with decreasing the main fish types.(Mohamed et al., 2006).


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No. Fish type %

1. Crucian Carp 70%

2. Common carp 15%

3. Shabout 4%

4. Toueni 3%

5. Gattan 3%

6. Bizz 2%

7. Catfish 2%

8. Beyah 1%

Table (3): The ratio of crucian carp against the native Iraqi fishes.

Source: Radi,(2012)


Source: EPIB & Al-Jader, (2013).

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Figure (7): Length groups of the crucian carp. 16

Crucian carp is fishing all the year. Length group (10-20) cm most dominant group which contain (78.6%) from total fishing.

Source: Mohamed et al., (2006)

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Country Lmax (cm) Wmax (Kg)

Iraq 25.7 2.6

Turkey 23 2.1

Finland 64 6.4

Poland 41 3.9

Netherlands 43 4.2

Denmark 40 3.2

China  14.8 1.4

Nepal 17.5 1.7

Sources: Fahd,(2012), Onsoy et al.,(2011) & Aydin et al.,(2007)


Source: EPIB & Al-Jader, (2013).

Table (4): Length and weight of Crucian carp by Countries.

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Food Ingredients:

Table (5) : Main food for crucian carp juveniles & adults. Age stage Diet

Juvenile Zooplankton

Adults mollusks, worms, various insects, crustaceans and some plant material

Notes: opportunistic feeders, utilize any available food source, sucking bottom sediments while feeding.


Video (2): Showing the Crucian carp Feeding Frenzy - YouTube.

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Video (3): An Interesting Hybrid, crucian carp with fantail! – YouTube.

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1. This fish consider chieftain of Tigris & Euphrates fishes.2. The Crucian carp was introduced to Iraq by unintentional release

from Turkish dams throw 2005. 3. Tolerant and hardy fish that thrive in a wide variety of aquatic

habitats.4. Strongly compete with the young of most cyprinid fish species for

food and space. 5. Crucian carp is known as one of the most hazardous fish species

for native fish communities.6. Currently the largest (3/4 of all fish production is crucian carp).7. It appears to occupy an unexpected ecological niche or even lead

to unexpected changes in the behavior of native species.8. Predate heavily on phytoplankton and zooplankton.9. Appear to be a serious competitor of native fish species.10. Population density of the Carassius species have increased

rapidly in the inland waters of Turkey & Iraq , and now it is the dominant fish species of some aquatic systems.



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References:Aydin, H.; , Gaygusuz, O.; Tarkan, A.; Top, O.; Ciğdem G.& Gaygusuz, C. (2011).

Invasion of freshwater bodies in the Marmara region (northwestern Turkey) by nonnative gibel carp, Carassius gibelio (Bloch, 1782). Turk J Zool.(6)-35:c TUBİTAK.doi:10.3906/zoo-1007-31.pdf(829-836)pp.

Aydogdu, A. (2006). Variations in the infections of two Monogenean species parasitizing the gills of the crucian carp (Carassius carassius), in relation to water temperature over a period of one year in Gölbasi Dam Lake, Bursa, Turkey. Bulletin of European Association of Fish Pathologists 26(3):112-118.

Balik, S.; Ustaoglu, M. (2006). Fish introducing studies in Lakes, Ponds and Reservoirs of Turkey and their results (In Turkish with English Summary). I. Symposium on Management of Reservoirs and Fish Stocking, MARA, Mediterranean Fisheries, Production and Education Institute, pp: 1‐10.

Becer ,Z. A.; Kır, I. & Cubuk, H. (1998). Some reproductive charecteristics of the Carassius carassius L., 1758 (Isparta‐ Burdur) in the Karacaören I Dam Lake (In Turkish with English Summary). XIV. Ulusal Biyoloji Kongresi, Samsun, pp: 126‐138.

Cetinkaya, O.; Elp, M. & Sen, F. (1999). Studies on crucian carp (Carassius carassius L.) introduced into Lake Nazik (Ahlat‐ Bitlis, Turkey) (In Turkish with English Summary). X. Ulusal Su Urunleri Sempozyumu, Adana, pp: 814‐825.

Copp, G.H. and Sayer, C.D. (2010). Norfolk Biodiversity Action Plan – Local species action plan for crucian carp (Carassius carassius). Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership Reference: LS/3. Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science-Lowestoft. 9 pp.


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References:EPIB(Environmental Protection & Improvement Board) & Al-Jader, Firas A. M.

(2013). Preliminary Survey of fish species in Duhok Governorate Borders.

Fahd, Kamel K. (2012). Some aspects of ecological and biological in the crucian carp Carassius carassius in Al-Baddah Dam,Thi-Qar Iraq. Thi- Qar J.Agric. Res., 1 ( 1 ) 2012.11p.

Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M. (2008). Carassius carassius. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <>. Downloaded on 24 April 2013.

Innal, D. (2011). Distribution and impacts of Carassius species (Cyprinidae) in Turkey: a review. ISSN 1989‐8649 Manag. Biolog. Invasions, 2011, 2. Department of Biology, Mehmet Akif Ersoy University, 15100, Burdur, Turkey. Copyrights 2011owned by The Authors [email protected].

Jasim, Ali, A.(2009). Fecundity, sex ratio and age at sexual maturity of crucian carp ,carassius carassius l.,1758 in tigris river,mosul-iraq. Fish & Mar.Res.Dept./College of Agriculture /University of Basrah. Mesopotamia J. of Agric. (ISSN 1815-316X) Vol. ( 37) No. ( 2) 2009.pdf:8p.

Koyun, M. (2001). The helminthofauna of some fishes in Enne Dam Lake (In Turkish with English Summary). Phd Thesis, Uludag University, 119 pp.

Lorenzoni, M.; Corboli, M.; Ghetti, L.; Pedicillo, G. and Carosi, A. (2007). Growth and reproduction of Carassius : a case study from Italy. Gherardi: Biological Invaders in Inland Waters ch13 Page Proof pp: 259-274Compositor Name: Pdjeapradaban.


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Mohamed, A. R. M., Al-Noor, S. S. and Faris, R. A. K.(2006). Analytical Study Of The Fisheries In The Lower Reaches Of The Tigris River, North Qurna, Basrah, Iraq. Department of Fisheries And Marine Resources, Agriculture College, Basrah University, Iraq & Basrah Agriculture Directorate, Agriculture Ministry, Iraq. Iraq J. Aqua (2006) 1, 57-73.

Onsoy, B.; Tarkan, A.S.; Filiz, H. & Bilge, G.; (2011). Determination of the best length measurement of fish, North‐western Journal of Zoology 7 (1): on first.

Pamela, J.; Schofield, J.; Williams, D.; Leo, G.; Nico, P. F., and Matthew, R. T, (2005). Foreign Nonindigenous Carps and Minnows (Cyprinidae) in the United States - A Guide to their Identification, Distribution, and Biology. Southeast Ecological Science Center.U.S. Department of the Interior |U.S. Geological Survey URL:http :// fl. Biology .usgs. Gov / Carp_ID /index .html Page Contact Information: Buck Albert - Web Administrator.

Radi, Enas M. (2012). Project of developing fish resources in Iraq. © University of Babylon 2010-2011. All rights reserved. Part of :UOB-IT Operations.

Taran, H.; Kucuk, F.; Becer, Z.; (2000). The investigation of population structure and some reproduction charecters of crucian carp (Carassius carassius L., 1758) in Lake Egirdir (In Turkish with English Summary). Ulusal Ogrenci Su Urunleri Sempozyumu, pp: 11.

Yilmaz, F. (2004). Physico‐chemical features of Mumcular Dam Lake (Muğla‐Bodrum) (In Turkish with English Summary). Ekoloji 13 (50): 10‐17.



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