Grass Carp
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Name and Code
Cyprinidae - carps and minnows
Ctenopharyngodon idella
Taxonomic Authority
(Valenciennes, 1844)
Common Name(s)
Grass Carp
French Name
carpe de roseau
Family TSN
Parent TSN
Species TSN
Conservation Status
Global Rank (GRank)
G5 (1996-09-13)
National Rank (NRank)
NNA (1996-09-05)
Provincial Rank (SRank)
SNA (1997-10-02)
SARO Status
AFS Status
Ecological Value
Ontario Origin
General Abundance
Economic Importance
invasive species
Habitat and Feeding
General Habitat(s)
lacustrine; riverine
Trophic Class
Thermal Regime
Habitat Preference
lakes, ponds, pools, reservoirs and backwaters of large rivers at depths of 1-3 m; preferred water temperature 25.3°C
Reproductive Guild
Nonguarders: Open substratum spawners: Pelagophils
Spawning Habitat(s)
Spawning Season
Spawning Month(s)
Spawning Temperature (°C)
Nursery Habitat(s)
Size and Age
Adult Length (cm)
51-86 TL
Adult Weight (kg)
Age at Maturity (yrs)
Maximum Length (cm)
145 TL
Maximum Weight (kg)
Lifespan (yrs)
Ontario Range Map
Grass Carp range
Ontario Distribution
southern Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Grand River, Niagara River, Lake Ontario (Toronto Islands, Jordan Harbour, Bay of Quinte); first reported from Ontario waters in 1985
Grass Carp photograph
indigenous to eastern Asia; expanding range from United States introductions; tolerant of wide water temperature range (0-33°C) and low dissolved oxygen (0.2 mg/L); use as live bait prohibited
Ontario Records
Record Length (cm)
110 TL
Record Weight (kg)
Information Sources
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Crossman, E.J., S.J. Nepszy, and P. Krause, 1987. The first record of Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella, in Canadian waters. Can. Field-Nat. 101(4):584-586.
Cudmore, B. and N.E. Mandrak. 2011. The baitfish primer: a guide to identifying and protecting Ontario’s baitfishes. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bait Association of Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. 40 pp.
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Ditz, K and M. Croft-White. 2013. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources fish species codes & common names. Ichthyology and Herpetology, Royal Ontario Museum. May 1994. Reformatted and revised by M. Croft-White, 2013.
Etnier, D.A. and W.C. Starnes. 1993. The fishes of Tennessee. [2nd printing, 2001]. The University of Tennessee Press. Knoxville, TN. xiv + 689 pp.
Goldstein, R.M. and T.P. Simon. 1999. Toward a united definition of guild structure for feeding ecology of North American freshwater fishes. Pages 123-202 in T.P. Simon [Ed]. Assessing the sustainability and biological integrity of water resources using fish communities. CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL. xx + 671 pp.
Goodyear, C.S., T.A. Edsall, D.M. Ormsby Dempsey, G.D. Moss, and P.E. Polanski. 1982. Atlas of the spawning and nursery areas of Great Lakes fishes. Volume thirteen: Reproductive characteristics of Great Lakes fishes. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Washington, DC. FWS/OBS-82/52.
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Jenkins, R.E. and N.M. Burkhead. 1993. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, MD. xxiii + 1079 pp.
Jones. L.A., Mandrak, N.E., and Cudmore, B. 2017. Updated (2003–2015) biological synopsis of Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2016/102. iv + 64 p.
Kottelat, M. and J. Freyhof. 2007. Handbook of European freshwater fishes. Cornol, Switzerland. xiii + 646 p.
Lee, D.S., C.R. Gilbert, C.H. Hocutt, R.E. Jenkins, D.E. McAllister, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History Publication 1980-12. Raleigh, NC. x + 867 pp.
Lui, K., M. Butler, M. Allen, E. Snyder, J. da Silva, B. Brownson and A. Ecclestone. 2010. Field guide to aquatic invasive species (3rd Edition): identification, collection and reporting of aquatic invasive species in Ontario waters. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Mandrak, N.E. and E.J. Crossman. 1992. A checklist of Ontario freshwater fishes annotated with distribution maps. Royal Ontario Museum Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publication. Toronto, ON. v + 176 pp.
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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, MA. xix + 663 pp.
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Schofield, P.J., J.D. Williams, L.G. Nico, P. Fuller, and M.R. Thomas. 2005. Foreign nonindigenous carps and minnows (Cyprinidae) in the United States - A guide to their identification, distribution, and biology: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5041, 103 p.
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