Species and Origin: The common carp is a large omnivorous fish. They have large scales, a long dorsal fin base, and two pairs of long barbels (whiskers) in its upper jaw. Native to Europe and Asia, it was intentionally introduced into Midwest waters as a game fish in the 1880s. (Be aware of a native look-a-like: the native fish bigmouth buffalo looks like a carp without barbells)
Common carp are one of the most damaging aquatic invasive species due to its wide distribution and severe impacts in shallow lakes and wetlands
Their feeding disrupts shallowly rooted plants muddying the water
Species and Origin: Large filter feeding fish that can weigh up to 110 pounds for bighead carp and 60 pounds for silver carp. Both species have low-set eyes below the mouth and large upturned mouths without barbels. Imported from China in the 1970s for use in aquaculture ponds to control plankton. By the early 1980s, both species had escaped into open waters in southern states. See US map for bighead carp or silver carp.
Impacts: They eat huge amounts of plankton and detritus. Because they feed on plankton, these fish compete for food with native organisms including mussels, larval fishes, and some adult fish such as paddlefish. This competition for food could result in fewer and smaller sport fish. Silver carp can jump up to 10 feet out of the water when disturbed by sounds of watercraft. They often jump into boats and can injure boaters, personal watercraft operators, and water skiers.