bighead carp
Hypophthalmichthys nobilis J. Richardson, 1845


The Hypophthalmichthys nobilis or Bighead carp are native to Asia. Bighead carp are a large deep bodied fish with big heads. It has a laterally compressed (relatively flat side to side) body form. The head is longer than the body is high. The mouth slants upwards and the lower jaw extends slightly over upper jaw. Their scales are very small with from 85-100 scales along the length of the fish with 26-28 rows of scales above the lateral line. Larger fish have a heavy, stiff, non-serrate spine at the origin of the dorsal fin and a slightly stiffened spine at the anal fin origin. The dorsal fin has eight and sometimes 9 soft rays. The anal fin has thirteen and occasionally fourteen soft rays. The gill rakers are long, comb like and close-set.
Life Cycle
H. nobilis are a synchronous (all spawn at the same time) and gonochoristic (have separate male and female) species that spawns annually for dozens of years during its life span. H. nobilis is a semi-migratory fish. Reproductive adults migrate from lakes and the lower reaches of rivers to the spawning ground in the upper reaches of the major rivers in its native range. Flowing water and changes in water level are essential for natural spawning. Semi-buoyant eggs are laid that suspend in the water column when there is a current.
H. nobilis have been introduced around the world. They have been found in Africa, Australasia-Pacific, North America, and South America. They may be introduced as a fish for the food industry.
Control Efforts
Cooperation is recommended between the states where H. nobilis may spread to ensure consistency in regulation and enforcement.


Selected Images


EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Subclass: Neopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Genus: Hypophthalmichthys
Subject: Hypophthalmichthys nobilis J. Richardson, 1845

Synonyms and Other Names

Related Scientific Names:
Aristichthys nobilis (Richardson, 1845) (Synonym)


Wildlife - Fish