The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Carassius carassius
Carassius carassius
(crucian carp)

Copyright Info
Carassius carassius (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name: crucian carp

Synonyms and Other Names: English carp, golden carp, gibele, Prussian carp

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Injurious: This species is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as injurious wildlife.

Identification: Distinguishing characteristics were provided by Berg (1964), Muus and Dahlstrom (1978), Wheeler (1978), Raicu et al. (1981), Howells (1992b) and Wheeler (2000).

Dorsal rays iii-iv (14-21); Anal rays ii-iii (5-8); Pharyngeal teeth in one row (0,4-4,0); Gill rakers 22-33; lateral line scales 28-37.  Dorsal and anal fins have a serrated, spinelike ray.  Typically, individuals are deep-bodied and laterally compressed; however, a slender "shallow-body" variety also exists.  The body is golden copper, darker dorsally with reddish fins.  Barbels are not present around the mouth.

Crucian carp are distinguished from goldfish (Carassius auratus) as follows:

Character Crucian Carp Goldfish
Dorsal fin margin slightly convex straight or slightly convex
Caudal fin slightly emarginate deeply emarginate

Denticles on posterior
margin of dorsal fin

28-29 10-11



Size: To about 50 cm and 5 kg (Berg 1964; Wheeler 1978).

Native Range: Europe and Siberia (Raicu et al. 1981).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Carassius carassius are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†

Table last updated 5/25/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: The crucian carp is known for its remarkable hardiness (Muus and Dahlstrom 1978).  Historical accounts report the species can live for hours out of the water (Seeley, 1886).  Like goldfish, the crucian carp is tolerant of low-oxygen conditions and high turbidity.  Survival has been documented at water temperatures below 0°C, and individuals may even survive for a few days with a frozen integument (Szczerbowski and Szczerbowski, 2001).  The ability to use anaerobic metabolism allows crucian carp to survive for several months in anoxic water at low temperatures, for example, in lakes frozen over with ice (Holopainen and Hyvärinen, 1984; Piironen and Holopainen, 1986).  In their native range, feeding may stop for several months as the fish rest in a state of "suspended animation" during winter months when ponds become anoxic and covered with ice (Zhadin and Gerd, 1963; Penttinen and Holopainen, 1992).

Status: There are no recent reports of crucian carp in the U.S.  An earlier report that either the crucian carp or a hybrid (with goldfish) had been introduced into Texas (Howells 1992b; Fuller et al. 1999) is now considered unlikely.  The introduction and status of this species remains uncertain.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: Because of this species' similarity to goldfish, and because of possible hybridization, characters may overlap and positive identification may be difficult. Similar to the goldfish, the crucian carp is known to hybridize with the common carp Cyprinus carpio (Berg 1964; Muus and Dahlstrom 1978; Wheeler 1978). Eddy and Underhill (1974) reported that both the goldfish and the crucian carp had been introduced into the United States, but they provided no additional details concerning the latter species. Welcomme (1988) reported that C. carassius was established in Chicago in the 1900s but later died out; however, he did not provide documentation for that record and we have found no additional information to support it.

There is some confusion in the literature surrounding the use of the names crucian carp and Prussian carp. Lever (1996) listed Prussian Carp as an alternative or local vernacular name sometimes used for the crucian carp; however, Berg (1964) and most others use the name Prussian carp for Carassius auratus gibelio. In the 1800s Baird witnessed fish taken out of the Hudson River, New York; Baird later wrote that these fish appeared to be "hybrids between goldfish and the Prussian carp" (Redding 1884). In that instance it is not certain as to which species Baird is referring to in using the term Prussian carp. Cole (1905) quoted from one of Baird's reports, in which Prussian carp is treated as synonymous with Cyprinus carassius (=Carassius carassius?).

No known voucher specimens.

References: (click for full references)

Berg, L. S.  1964.  Freshwater Fishes in the U.S.S.R. and Neighbouring Countries.  Vol. 2., Fourth edition.  Translated from Russian by Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem, IPST Catalog No. 742.  496 pp.

Cole, L. J. 1905. The German carp in the United States. Pages 523-641 in Report of the Bureau of Fisheries for 1904. U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

Eddy, S., and J. C. Underhill. 1974. Northern fishes, with special reference to the Upper Mississippi Valley, 3rd edition. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN.

Fuller, P. L., L. G. Nico, J. D. Williams.  1999.  Nonindigenous Fishes Introduced Into Inland Waters of the United States.  Special Publication 27, American Fisheries Society.  Bethesda, Maryland.  613 pp.

Holopainen, I. J., and H. Hyvärinen.  1984.  Ecology and physiology of Crucian carp (Carassius carassius L.) in small Finnish ponds with anoxic conditions in winter.  Verhandlungen.  Internationale Vereiningung fur theoretische und angewandte Limnology Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 2566-2570.

Howells, R. G. 1992b. Guide to identification of harmful and potentially harmful fishes, shellfishes and aquatic plants prohibited in Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Special Publication, Austin, TX. 182 pp. (+ appendices).

Lever, C., 1996, Naturalized fishes of the world: Academic Press, 408 p.

Muus, B. J., and P. Dahlstrom. 1978. Collins guide to the freshwater fishes of Britain and Europe. Collins, London, England. 222 pp.

Meek, S.E., and Hildebrand, S.F.  1910.  A synoptic list of the fishes known to occur within fifty miles of Chicago: Field Museum of Natureal History, Publication 142, Zoological Series, 7(9):223-338.

Penttinen, O.-P. and I. J. Holopainen.  1992.  Seasonal feeding activity and ontogenetic dietary shifts in Crucian carp, Carassius carassius.  Environmental Biology of Fishes Vol. 33, Nos. 1-2, pp. 215-221.

Piironen, J. and I. J. Holopainen.  1986.  A note on seasonality in anoxia tolerance of Crucian carp (Carassius carassius [L.]) in the laboratory.  Annales Zoologici Fennici Vol. 23, pp. 335-338.

Raicu, P., E. Taisescu, and P. Bãnãrescu.  1981.  Carassius carassius and C. auratus, a pair of diploid and tetraploid representative species (Pisces, Cyprinidae).  Cytologia 46:233-240 .

Redding, J. D. 1884. Character of the carp introduced by Capt. Henry Robinson about 1830. Bulletin of the U.S. Fish Commission 4(1884):266-267.

Seeley, H. G.  1886.  The Freshwater Fishes of Europe.  Cassell and Company, Ltd.  London.  444 pp.

Smith, P. W.  1979.  The Fishes of Illinois.  University of Illinois Press, Urbana, IL.  314 pp.

Szczerbowski, J. A. & A. J. Szczerbowski.  2001.  Carassius carassius (Linneaus, 1758).  Pages 43-78 In: P. M. Bãnãrescu & H.-J. Paepke (Eds.) The Freshwater Fishes of Europe, Vol. 5/III; Cyprinidae 2/III and Gasterosteidae.  AULA-Verlag GmbH Wiebelsheim.  305 pp.

Welcomme, R. L. 1988. International introductions of inland aquatic species. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 294. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy. 318 pp.

Wheeler, A. 1978. Key to the fishes of northern Europe. Frederick Warne Ltd., London, England.

Wheeler, A.  2000.  Status of the crucian carp, Carassius carassius (L.) in the UK.  Fisheries Management and Ecology 7: 315-332.

Zhadin, V. I. and S. V. Gerd.  1963.  Fauna and Flora of the Rivers Lakes and Reservoirs of the U.S.S.R.  Originally published in Moskow, 1961 by Gosudarstvennoe Uchebno-Pedagogicheskoe Izdatel'stvo Misisterstva Prosveshcheniya RSFSR.  Translated from Russian in 1963 by the Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem.  626 pp.

FishBase Summary

Author: Pamela J. Schofield, Leo G. Nico, and Pam Fuller

Revision Date: 9/15/2011

Peer Review Date: 9/15/2011

Citation Information:
Pamela J. Schofield, Leo G. Nico, and Pam Fuller, 2024, Carassius carassius (Linnaeus, 1758): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=509, Revision Date: 9/15/2011, Peer Review Date: 9/15/2011, Access Date: 5/25/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [5/25/2024].

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