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Carassius buergeri subsp.1(Saitama, Japan).jpg
The naga-buna, a close relative of the goldfish
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Subfamily: Cyprininae
Genus: Carassius
Nilsson, 1832

Carassius is a genus in the ray-finned fish family Cyprinidae. Many species in this genus are commonly known as crucian carps, though this term often specifically refers to C. carassius. The most well known is the goldfish (C. auratus), which was bred from the Prussian carp (C. gibelio). They have a Eurasian distribution, apparently originating further to the west than the typical carps (Cyprinus), which include the common carp (C. carpio).

Species of Carassius are not particularly close relatives of the typical carps of Cyprinus, but rather form a more basal lineage of the subfamily Cyprininae.[1]


†Note that Fishbase listing of common names identification is not consistient with Japan's Regional Red List.[2] Fishbase for C. a. auratus lists kinbuna, and for C. a. buergeri both naga-buna and okin-buna (ōkin-buna).


For the use of the European species, see Crucian carp.

The native Chinese Carassius subspecies called ji (鯽魚), C. auratus auratus), is a different species from the European, but for most practical purposes, it is classed as "crucian carp" in a typical Chniese-English dictionary, including wiktionary:鯽. For convenience, it will be denoted the "Chinese crucian".

Although the Chinese crucian can be raised as pets, it is also farmed and commonly used in Chinese cuisine. Despite being reputedly bony, the fish is easy to raise and relatively cheap, so are often deep-fried as part of a worker's meal.

Many extensive and luxurious preparations for this fish are used in Chinese cuisine. For example, it can be found in the Shanghainese dish congshao jiyu (蔥燒鯽魚, lit. scallion-cooked crucian carp), which requires long hours for preparation, since the fish needs to be soaked in vinegar, and then deep-fried, stewed for a long prolonged period, and cooled to make the fish tender enough to consume together with all its bones.[3] Also, the Chinese crucian is used to make soup with tofu, which the Chinese believe to benefit women in the postpartum period.[citation needed]

The several Japanese crucians are collectively called funa (ja:鮒). The generic fish can be used in a preparation called kanro-ni, stewed in syrupy, soy sauce-flavored liquid till they glisten, a preserved dish similar to tsukudani. The specialty dish funazushi specifically calls for the use one species, the nigoro-buna (C. a. grandoculis). Hence, it would be misleading to say that any crucian carp may be used for this delicacy. However, due to diminishing resources, ersatz funazushi is now being made using substitute types such as C. cuvieri. The deep-bodied forms of C. cuvieri, called hera-buna, shaped rather like flatfishes, are caught by rod and tackle for sport, but are not considered good eating.


  1. ^ de Graaf, Martin; Megens, Hendrik-Jan; Samallo, Johannis & Sibbing, Ferdinand A. (2007): Evolutionary origin of Lake Tana's (Ethiopia) small Barbus species: indications of rapid ecological divergence and speciation. Anim. Biol. 57(1): 39-48. doi:10.1163/157075607780002069 (HTML abstract)
  2. ^ JPNRDB search site
  3. ^ Lee, Jesse (2008), 上海味兒, 旗林文化, ISBN 978-986-6655-14-2 

Further reading[edit]