Hypophthalmichthys nobilis - (Richardson, 1845)
Bighead Carp
Synonym(s): Aristichthys nobilis
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Hypophthalmichthys nobilis (Richardson, 1845) (TSN 163692)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102284
Element Code: AFCJB44020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Minnows and Carps
Image 37

© Noel Burkhead

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Cyprinidae Hypophthalmichthys
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B91ROB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Hypophthalmichthys nobilis
Taxonomic Comments: See Jennings (1988) for taxonomic overview.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 14Oct2000
Global Status Last Changed: 14Oct2000
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA (05Dec1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Native to eastern China. Introduced throughout the world, but until recently has not readily become established except in the Soviet Union, Japan, and Europe, mainly because of strict reproductive requirements. First introduced in the U.S. in fish culture systems in 1972. As of 1988, there were a few records from open waters in the U.S.: Ohio River below Smithland Dam, Kentucky, in 1981; Chain Lake, Schuzler County, Illinois, in 1986; Mississippi River, Hancock and Henderson counties, Illinois, in 1986 and 1987 (see Jennings 1988 for further details). Reported in 1989 as reproducing in natural waters in Missouri (see Robins et al. 1991). Reproducing populations recently have become established in the middle and lower Mississippi and Missouri rivers; apparently firmly established in Illinois and Missouri; larvae have been found in Louisiana (Fuller et al. 1999, Douglas and Jordan 2002). Ferber (2001) mapped an extensive distribution in the Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, and Ohio basins, and indicated populations in southern Florida as well.

Short-term Trend: Increase of >10%
Short-term Trend Comments: Increasing greatly in North America (Ferber 2001).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Native to eastern China. Introduced throughout the world, but until recently has not readily become established except in the Soviet Union, Japan, and Europe, mainly because of strict reproductive requirements. First introduced in the U.S. in fish culture systems in 1972. As of 1988, there were a few records from open waters in the U.S.: Ohio River below Smithland Dam, Kentucky, in 1981; Chain Lake, Schuzler County, Illinois, in 1986; Mississippi River, Hancock and Henderson counties, Illinois, in 1986 and 1987 (see Jennings 1988 for further details). Reported in 1989 as reproducing in natural waters in Missouri (see Robins et al. 1991). Reproducing populations recently have become established in the middle and lower Mississippi and Missouri rivers; apparently firmly established in Illinois and Missouri; larvae have been found in Louisiana (Fuller et al. 1999, Douglas and Jordan 2002). Ferber (2001) mapped an extensive distribution in the Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, and Ohio basins, and indicated populations in southern Florida as well.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALexotic, ARexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MOexotic, MSexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Spawning has been observed at temperatures of 18-30 C in different regions. In China, spawns April-June. Males generally reach maturity one year earlier than do females; age at maturity varies with conditions. See Jennings (1988) for many details on reproduction.
Ecology Comments: Forms schools.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates upstream to spawn when water level rises (Jennings 1988).
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Habitat Comments: Adults inhabit rivers and floodland lakes (Jennings 1988). Eggs generally are deposited among rock of rapids in river channels, behind sandbars, and at islands at junction of currents; eggs must float to hatch; quiet waters serve as nursery areas, which are reach passively or actively by the larvae (Jennings 1988).
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Larvae feed on diatoms, protozoans, cyanobacteria, infusoria, phytoplankton, and zooplankton; adults filter feed on phytoplankton and zooplankton, and also may consume detritus (Jennings 1988).
Phenology Comments: Daily time of peak feeding activity often in late afternoon and early evening, sometimes mid-morning also (Jennings 1988).
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: This species and hybrids between bighead carp and grass carp have been used as biological weed control agents, particularly for limiting phytoplankton blooms (Jennings 1988, which see for information on other hybrids that have been produced with this species). Studies in Arkansas indicate utility of bighead carp in improving quality of water in sewage lagoons; also, marketability tests revealed that palatability of flesh was comparable to or better than that of channel catfish or bigmouth buffalo; has potential value in U.S. as food fish for humans and as organic fertilizer or fish meal by-product (see Jennings 1988). See Jennings 1988 for information on exploitation and fisheries. In U.S., sometimes reaches 18-23 kg in 4-5 yr.
Management Summary
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Management Requirements: See Jennings (1988) for extensive information on pond fish culture.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Large Cyprinids

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs and larvae) in appropriate habitat.
Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 20 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 20 km
Separation Justification: Data on dispersal and other movements generally are not available. In some species, individuals may migrate variable distances between spawning areas and nonspawning habitats.

Separation distances (in aquatic kilometers) for cyprinids are arbitrary but reflect the presumption that movements and appropriate separation distances generally should increase with fish size. Hence small, medium, and large cyprinids, respectively, have increasingly large separation distances. Separation distance reflects the likely low probability that two occupied locations separated by less than many kilometers of aquatic habitat would represent truly independent populations over the long term.

Because of the difficulty in defining suitable versus unsuitable habitat, especially with respect to dispersal, and to simplify the delineation of occurrences, a single separation distance is used regardless of habitat quality.

Occupied locations that are separated by a gap of 10 km or more of any aquatic habitat that is not known to be occupied represent different occurrences. However, it is important to evaluate seasonal changes in habitat to ensure that an occupied habitat occurrence for a particular population does not artificially separate spawning areas and nonspawning areas as different occurrences simply because there have been no collections/observations in an intervening area that may exceed the separation distance.

Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 18Mar1991
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Douglas, N. H., and R. J. Jordan. 2002. Louisiana's inland fishes: a quarter century of change. Southeastern Fishes Council Proceedings (43):1-10.

  • Ferber, D. 2001. Will black carp be the next zebra mussel? Science 292:203.

  • Fuller, P. L., L. G. Nico, and J. D. Williams. 1999. Nonindigenous fishes introduced into inland waters of the United States. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 27. x + 613 pp.

  • Jennings, D. P. 1988. Bighead carp (HYPOPHTHALMICHTHYS NOBILIS): a biological synopsis. U.S. Fish Wild. Serv. Biol. Rep. 88(29). 35 pp.

  • Nelson, J. S., E. J. Crossman, H. Espinosa-Perez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, and J. D. Williams. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 29, Bethesda, Maryland. 386 pp.

  • Page, L. M., H. Espinosa-Pérez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, N. E. Mandrak, R. L. Mayden, and J. S. Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Seventh edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 34, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. xix + 663 pp.

  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.

  • Simon, Thomas P. 2011. Fishes of Indiana. Indiana University Press. Bloomington, 345 pp.

  • White, D.S. 2014. The benthic macroinvertabrates of Kentucky Lake, a mainstem reservoir on the Tennessee River, U.S.A. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 140:83-89.

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