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Typical carps
Temporal range: Miocene–Recent,
Cyprinus carpio.jpeg
Wild-type common carp (C. carpio)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Subfamily: Cyprininae
Genus: Cyprinus
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Cyprinus carpio
(Linnaeus, 1758)

22 living species
1 probably recently extinct
1 fossil

  • Mesocyprinus Fang, 1936

Cyprinus is the genus of typical carps in family Cyprinidae. They are of East Asian origin and closely related to some more barb-like genera, such Cyclocheilichthys and the recently established Barbonymus (tinfoils). The crucian carps (Carassius) of western Eurasia, which include the goldfish (C. auratus), are apparently not as closely related.[1]

This genus' most widespread and well-known member is the common carp (C. carpio). It is famed as a food fish and widely traded and introduced since antiquity, but in certain areas has multiplied inordinately and become a pest. In some places, such as Australia[verification needed], it is illegal to not kill a Common Carp when you can, due to their severe overpopulation. In its long use it has been domesticated, and a number of breeds have been developed for food and other purposes. The koi (from Japanese nishikigoi, 錦鯉) are well-known common carp breeds, selectively bred for being enjoyed by spectators from above. Strictly speaking, "koi" is simply the Japanese name of the common carp.

The other species of typical carps are generally found in more restricted areas of eastern Asia, centered on the Yunnan region. In some cases, they are endemic to a single lakes, most notably Lake Er, as well as Lake Dian, Lake Jilu Lake Qilihu, Lake Xingyun and Lake Yi-Lung, which are all in Yunnan proper. A species from the last-named, C. yilongensis, was apparently endemic; if so, it is probably now extinct.


Japanese koi (ornamental domesticated common carp) with various colors

Fossil Species[edit]


  1. ^ de Graaf et al. (2007)


  • Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2011). Species of Cyprinus in FishBase. August 2011 version.
  • 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)