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Behavior of Asian carp larvae


Description of Work Bighead, silver and grass carp larvae were raised in the laboratory. Larvae were observed during the hatching process. Recently hatched larvae were placed in 10 feet tall clear vertical containers where the carp were exposed to light for a similar amount of time during the day as they would experience in a river during the spawning period. Depth selection, swimming behavior, and swimming speed were observed in both day and night periods. Relevance & Impact Understanding the stage at which Asian carps begin swimming is critical to development of models that predict whether a river is adequate for reproduction by Asian carps. Knowledge of where and how Asian carp larvae arrive in nursery areas is required to focus [...]

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Principal Investigator :
Duane C Chapman
Associate Project Chief :
Sandra Morrison
Lead Organization :
Columbia Environmental Research Center

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Prior to this work, very little was known about the behavior of Asian carp larvae, and most of what was previously believed has been disproven. The eggs of Asian carps drift in the current and if they settle to the bottom they are believed to perish. The length of river required for Asian carp reproduction can be determined using this required drift period. It was believed that the larvae would also be subject to this requirement until they reached a developmental stage capable of swimming. Additionally, Asian carp larvae are known to appear in wetland nursery environments but it was unclear if the fish were washed there or if they arrived through their own locomotive abilities. Knowledge of where and how Asian carp larvae arrive in nursery areas is required to focus efforts on destruction of the larvae and juveniles. Furthermore, knowledge of depth selection and swimming speed are needed to enhance early detection efforts based on egg and larvae detection.

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  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative



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