The anatomy and habits of carp

Carp largest representative carp fish with pronounced typical features of this family. Powerful, elongate body moderately compressed laterally, combines solidity with the swiftness and strength. Much resembling a blunt wedge head with large gill covers approximately 1/5 of its total length.

Eyes bronze-yellow, medium size. Very large, copper-gold-colored scales covering the whole body accept the head. On the back is darker – bluish gray. On the belly is light yellow, almost white.

At the base of each scale have dark spots, which is why it seems that the sides of carp dotted with copper nails. Compared with a body length of caudal peduncle is rather short. It is strongly compressed from sides and ends with a broad red-brown fin. All the lower fins are paired pectoral and pelvic and anal unpaired – grayish-purple Armillary. Occasionally there is carp pond, in which the lower fins painted in blue black color.

Long dorsal fin is usually dark gray, sometimes with a violet tinge. Fold carp surprisingly proportionally. It is moderately high in the back, with a strong, but not sharp rise from the head to the beginning of the dorsal fin. Young adult humpback carp and structure of the body are more like their close relative the common carp.

With age, the body of the fish is pulled in length, is almost cylindrical, with smooth curves of the back and tail. Adult carp can reach an impressive size – more than a meter in length and over 30 kg of weight. Depending on the age, habitat and certain other less significant factors, painting carp and carp is undergoing significant changes.

The older carp, the darker the color becomes muted and its scales and fins. Fish living in the muddy waters are usually much darker than the inhabitants of light flowing waters. Often they become dull dark bronze color, completely black on the back. And all of them are bluish fins except the caudal fin – purple or brown. River carp, not only lighter than the Lakers, but also elegant. Their body is more elongated streamlined shape because of the need to move rapidly in search of food, against the force of the current. This feature color carp becomes possible due to the presence of a large number of his skin pigment cells.

They give the fish protection, camouflage color, whose intensity is determined by the amount of light penetrating the water. As already mentioned, in carp head is large, massive, with several blunt snout. Mouth inferior, with a movable upper lip – a characteristic feature of all the fish with bottom feeding type. Labial roller clearly pronounced, covered with thick leathery-mucosa, and protects lips from injuries on the bottom of the solid particles.

At the outer corners of the mouth are two pairs of short fleshy barbells. Front slightly longer back. Antennae are a subsidiary organ of touch, functioning for the most part, during the power. Touching objects sensitive antennae located on the bottom, carp produces their primary differentiation before they will appear in his mouth.

Scales on the head of carp not at all. Wide gill covers boldly contoured smooth actuate edge. The eyes are fairly high, close to the forehead (higher than, for example, the crucian carp, bream, carp). But because of the relatively deep planting is not to create the impression goggle-eyed, like a roach. The front part of the head immediately before the eyes, two pair’s nares. Through them open access to special olfactory fosse, which cavity is lined by epithelial villi densely, providing the perception of different kinds of smells.

Locomotors apparatus

Bone carp system is well developed. Its skeleton is extremely strong axial many bones, forming a long range, powerful skull and most of the sternum and the abdominal cavity bounded by sturdy long edges. The bones of the skull form the cranium and skeleton (jaw, hyoid and gill arch gill cover). In addition to the back muscles it has a large number of small U-shaped (thymus) bones, muscle-enhancing unit of fish; they do not refer strictly to the skeleton, and are ossified between muscular tendons.

Metabolism muscle cells “fast” type not oksigenatsionny and glikoletix. Fibers such muscles are white and are capable of strong sharp reduction they generate much more power than the red fibers; form the basis of all the fins. Dorsal fin composed of 15-22 rays of different lengths, rather high in the beginning, to the tail; he gradually falls, flattening and rounded.

The first two in this fin ray not branched, the third – longest – have a number of large bones chipping (such as notch and there on the first ray of the anal fin). The remaining rays branched, soft. Anal fin short (5-6 branched rays). Thoracic and abdominal – moderately elongate, with rounded edges. Nor paddle tail fin is well developed, wide and very agile. Bone-rays in all fins are interconnected dense stretch film epidermal origin.

carp skeleton

Muscles carp is represented by two types of muscle. The so-called “slow” muscle used for peaceful sailing without any sudden movements. This type of muscle tissue is rich in myoglobin, which gives the fibers a red-pink color. They slowly oxidize, so there is a constant oxygenation of cells. The high oxygen content makes the red muscle fibers is very energy efficient. They are well adapted to long-term static loads for a long time does not get tired. Used mainly for the sudden and rapid movements.

With the connective tissue all muscles attached to the spine and ribs. Reducing, muscle fibers cause the undulating ridge of movement throughout the length of the body, or only in the tail section, is particularly rich in “slow” muscle. Some small muscle groups are responsible for the movement of the fins. The function of the caudal fin is to make the whole body forward movement. Pectoral and pelvic fins to help maneuver the motion in the vertical and horizontal planes. The dorsal and anal fin – control the balance. All fins act as stabilizers when the fish is at a standstill. The anal fin serves as an additional keel wheel during sharp turns or moves in an arc.

Outer coverings

Leather carp double-layer (epidermis and dermis proper), it consists of epithelial and connective tissue cells. Outside skin cover adventitious formation tight to one another cycloid scales. Each scale is sitting in separate, mucus, skin crease. The mucus covering the body with a continuous layer of common carp, has antibacterial properties, as well as reduces the friction of the water body. Depending on the species of carp, the scales may be placed on his body a continuous cover, spots, lines. Finally, in some subspecies it cannot be altogether.

The quantity of flakes may also be different. Along the side lines of which there are 35 to 39 According to the scales is easy to determine the age of fish. At each scale, like the annual rings on wood cut, we can clearly distinguish the different widths light and dark lines corresponding to the intensity of the growth of the fish within the annual cycle. Consequently, many lines – so many fish years. These lines are called scleroses. Wide bright scleroses are formed in the summer, in the period of intensive growth of the fish. Narrow dark scleroses winter.

Nervous system

The nervous system consists of a carp of the spinal cord, the prisoner in the spinal canal of the spine and the brain located in the skull, And the senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and tactile sensations. Brain carp has five departments, which are by no means autonomous entities, and represent only functionally differentiated parts of the central nervous system.

Front brain receives and processes signals from the olfactory nerves. The average brain – from the visual and auditory. In between the brain and the pituitary gland are responsible for internal and external secretion, as well as for the homeostasis of the whole body; cerebellum associated with the body side lines, and the medulla oblongata, with the taste buds. The primary response to various external stimuli provide chemoreceptor’s, located throughout the body of fish, their concentration is particularly high on the retina, in the nose and mouth, lips, and antennae in the tubules of the median line.

By nature chemoreceptor’s different. But they convert chemical to electrical signals, in other words, in the action potential. However, at one and the same stimulus different chemoreceptor’s react differently, for example, the impact of the high acidity of the surrounding water can be interpreted as the olfactory receptors fish pungent smell, taste – like sour taste, tactile – like pain or a burning sensation.

The basis of behavioral carp is a complex set of conditioned and unconditioned reflexes (instincts). Most of them will be discussed further in the description of the model of the behavior of carp in different habitat conditions.


Eyes carp are located on either side of the head, which provides a wide viewing range, but does not provide the normal functions of binocular vision. Reflected from the objects the light rays are refracted in the eye of the fish passing through the spherical lens, and get on the photoreceptors of the retina. The average brain interprets the impulses received from them as the visual images. Carp, like most other fish, the most sensitive to moving objects, as well as who sees shadows and light spots.

Photoreceptors carp have an increased ability to fixation of photons, which allows him to see well even in low light conditions. At a depth of 20 m carp perfectly distinguishes between blue, green and red colors. With increasing depth of 8-10 m of clarity is significantly reduced, and reception spectrum. In clear water with good lighting carp distinguishes not only the basic color, but also their shades.

Side location, high mobility and large, compared with mammals, the bulge of the eyeballs allow fish to focus the eyes in any of the six directions: up, down, left, right, forward, backward. It is best to see the carp peripheral vision (visibility of 170 ° horizontal and 150 ° vertical). Upper Review (circular window 97.6 °) captures not only the water column, but some part of the coast (due to the refraction of rays on the water surface). Beyond “the circular window” fish do not see the objects surface, and the reflected image of the bottom, undergo significant distortion in the wind and the ripples on the water. Several carp sees worse ahead. All the disadvantages of completely offset by hearing and tactile sensations.


The major role played in the life of the fish ear. Sound waves are perceived paired organs of the inner ear, is integral with the balance of the body. It has the form of three semicircular channels disposed in mutually perpendicular planes, and three chambers in each of which there otolith (tiny stone consisting of calcium carbonate). Moving the otolith presses on sensitive processes hair like cells lining the wall of the chamber, and those neurons transmit the signal, going to the midbrain. Ears, external auditory canals and eardrums in fish there, but due to higher conduction aqueous medium over a range of frequencies perceived their hearing is not inferior to men, registers frequency from 16 to 16,000 Hz.

In fact, the range is somewhat narrower (16-13000 Hz). However, in the perception of all kinds of fluctuations in fish it involved not only the auditory organs and the lateral line, the specific nerve endings in the skin, and even the swim bladder, playing the role of the resonator and the transducer sound waves. Weber’s body – a system of microscopic pits that connect the swim bladder wall with the cavity of the inner ear – transmits sound extremely weak signals picked up by the lateral line and transformed the swimming bladder.

The nerves of the lateral line are sensitive to low-frequency waves (from 5 to 600 Hz). They first of all, respond to the imminent change of weather, fixing emanating from oncoming cyclone acoustic vibrations.

Here, in the lateral line, arranged special paired organs, panoramic perceive sound waves. This gives an opportunity to set the direction of carp and a place where vibrations originate. Carp allocated proximal and distal zone of the acoustic field. At first it’s easy to determine the exact location of the source of vibrations. In the far field accurately determined only by the direction.

The sensitivity of the lateral line organs of carp so high that captures the vibrations generated by crawling in the mud bloodworms from a distance of 10 meters! Moreover – with the help of the lateral line carp finds clusters in mud or sand – their favorite goodies, focusing on insignificant vibration of the circulatory system of mollusks.

Carp has another remarkable body – “signal analyzers”. Thanks to him, out of all the chaos of sounds carp is able to highlight the most important signals for him, even those weaknesses which are in the process of emerging or attenuation. These extremely weak signals are amplified by the resonator (swimming bladder), and then transmitted through the body of the inner ear.


Nasal receptors sensitive carp to four types of chemical substances: salts, amino acids, steroids, prostaglandins. At the same amino acid are stimulants nutrition, steroids, and prostaglandins – pheromones acting on the fish during the spawning season. This fact suggests that a portion of the epithelial cells in the nasal cavity of carp is not only the olfactory receptors, but also formations. The very presence of a highly specialized organ chemoreception responsible for the perception of pheromones – evidence of severe sexual differentiation among carp fish.

The sense of smell in carp and carp highly developed. Continuously pumping water through the inlet and outlet openings nasal, these fish can distinguish the odor substance whose atomic ratio in the environment does not exceed the proportion of 1/1000000.


The main organ of taste is a mouth. But the taste buds at the carp are located not only in the oral cavity. They also have on the lips, mustache, gill racers and pectoral fins. In other words, the “taste” carp collects information throughout the lower part of the head, which greatly facilitates the search for food on the salty bottom areas. Taste buds fish are very sensitive and react to sour, sweet, salty and spicy substance. The greatest number of them focused on the palatal cushion – lumpy ledge covered with a thick layer of epithelial cells.

Most of the peripheral nervous system of carp up scattered body surface nerve endings that provide various kinds of tactile sensations: pain, touch, temperature. Carp feels the slightest change in water temperature and with the tubular lateral line picks up the direction of its movement, density, and partly chemical composition. The slightest change in the atmospheric pressure there is fish, noticeably reflected thus on its behavior.

All sorts of vibrations and vibration propagating in the water, cause carp not only hearing but also tactile.

A special and perhaps the most developed sense organ is the lateral line. It is a system placed in special tubules hair nerve fibers – processes of the vagus nerve. The channels are arranged along the fish’s body, leaving the surface of the skin and even the scales. Outwardly, it looks like a feeble dotted line, from the gill covers to the caudal fin intersects the body carp.

Leather carp head is also riddled with a system of shallow channels associated with the lateral line and form with it, the so-called hydrostatic machine fish.

The set of visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory and tactile sensations in the perception of shapes of fish a complete picture of the surrounding, respectively, which is elected and operates one or other behavioral response.

Respiratory-circulatory system

Respiratory and circulatory system in carp are inextricably linked. Carp did not receive oxygen from the forced air and the water in which the content is only 10 cm per liter, which is 21 times less than in the lower atmosphere. Dissolved oxygen in the water extracts carp using gill – the main body of the gas exchange, which is a powerful and highly functional physical and chemical filters. They are under the gill covers and have a view of the pair of arcs (4 on each side); curved edges are covered with plate lugs red-brown color, the gill filaments.

On the concave side of each of the gill arches located gill racers, filtered and retained in the throat with a current of water trapped food particles.

Gill petals are arranged in two rows, mutually interconnected at the bottom and diverging at an acute angle free upper ends. Each lobe has many fine fringes – extra villous folds, which, in fact, the main gas exchange occurs. The total surface area is huge gill filaments. In carp, it is about 2 cm per gram of body weight. That is the area of ​​the gill filaments 10 kg carp is the average area of ​​a football field.

Thanks to a dense network of tiny capillaries threading gill filaments, the exchange of gases between the water and the blood of fish. For this portion of fresh water should always wash their gills. In the course of this is achieved by a passive position in the most fish-rich oxygenated water layer.

Carp enough to become head against the current, to a continuous flow of water he washed his gills, penetrating through the open mouth and out through the cracks under the gill covers.

In stoically water carp is necessary to make active respiratory movements, the frequency of which depends on the percentage of oxygen in the pond, and the degree of activity of the fish. Thus, the frequency of winter carp breathing slows down (3-4 breaths per minute), in spring and autumn, when water temperature of 10-12 ° C, it is already 30-40 respiratory movements, and in the summer, when the water temperature of 20 ° C or higher It may increase to 100. The active nursing carp makes 80-100 breaths / breaths per minute, even in the cold and oxygen-rich water.

In the process of breathing oxygen dissolved in the water passes through the semi permeable wall villous folds capillaries, filling at once quite a considerable amount of blood, rushing through the arteries to the tissues of the body. At the same time the blood that came from the tissues and organs, cleaned of carbon dioxide.

For the normal life of carp must be to one liter of water contains at least 8 cm ‘oxygen. Carp are not so demanding of oxygen conditions, and does not feel discomfort even when the oxygen content is 5 cubic centimeter, however, if the oxygen level is reduced to 2 cm, carp begins to show marked anxiety, stops eating and often pops up to the surface for air. The extreme heat in shallow ponds can often be seen as carp, standing almost vertically in the water, gulp air wide open mouths.

This pattern – a sure sign of summer beginning Zamora (the so-called catastrophic for fish “anoxia” reservoir). If oxygenation continues to fall, or at least not increased for a long time – all the fish in the pond dies. But even surviving in such an environment individuals receive serious damage, as unfit to contact with the atmospheric air gills quickly dry during frequent trips carp to the surface. As a result of the gill filaments dying out and will not be restored, which in turn affects the intensity of growth and survival of fish.

Furthermore gills carp receives oxygen through the pores located throughout the surface of the skin. This feature gives the carp fish’s significant advantages over other types, because thanks to it, they are able to survive and reproduce in the ponds where other fish simply die. It is no secret that the water taken out of the crucian carp can survive for about two days if it is wrapped with a damp cloth, moss or grass. Carp, though less hardy, but are also able to be on the ground for quite a long time.

The circulatory system of carp

In a closed circulation, including the heart, arterial and venous vessels and capillaries. Double chamber heart consisting of the atrium and ventricle, is located in the thoracic region just behind the gill arches. Ahead of the atrium is the bulb of the aorta, separated from it by a partition with a valve. The same partition separates the ventricle from the atrium.

The bulb lasts abdominal aorta, which, branching into 4 pairs of gill arteries, marching under the gills, carries carbonation blood in the capillaries of the gill filaments. Here there is the above-described gas exchange between blood and water, after which the oxygen-rich blood collected in the two arteries. Ahead they continue carotid arteries carrying blood to the head, in the back – transformed into twin roots of the aorta. Connected to each other, the latter form the dorsal aorta, which runs under the spine, branching off to various parts of the body and internal organs.

Suggested tissue oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide blood rushes through the veins back to the heart. From the blood of the head is removed the front paired cardinal veins. From the caudal region – unpaired tail Vienna. The body cavity is divided into two branches that form the portal renal system.

At the exit of the kidney blood flows through the posterior cardinal veins connecting to the front in the channels flowing to the united atrium with venous sinus. In the liver, Vienna once again falls into the capillaries, then gathering in large hepatic vein, which flows into the same venous sinus. From sinus blood passes into the atrium and then the ventricle so on.

The total amount of blood in the body carp relatively small – only about 2% of body weight. But it is capable of hemoglobin strongly absorb oxygen, and compensates for the small volume of blood. Interestingly, blood carp and carp not only have all the basic shaped elements inherent in the blood of warm-blooded ground, but as a person, are divided into four groups. The main function of blood: transport, regulatory, protective.

The latter function is also performed by means of the lymphatic system shown in carp paired great vessels located along the dorsal aorta, and the network of small vessels taking lymph from tissues and organs. Actually lymph glands in carp there. Blood-forming organs are spleen and connective tissue of the kidneys. As well as breathing rate, heart rate is variable carp. At rest, the heart of the fish is reduced to a frequency of 20-30 times per minute. In winter, in the under-ice numbness, heart rate drops to 1-2 beats per minute, with the increase of the water temperature rises to 70.

Digestive system

Carp digestive system is extremely simple. Conventionally, it is divided into three sections: front, including the oral cavity, pharynx and esophagus; medium consisting of a thin or foregut and digestive glands; back, consisting of one of the hindgut. Roth carp in the lower, tubular – able to stretch to an elongated tube oriented downwards, with which collects fish feed from the bottom and digs it in the mud. Teeth in the oral cavity have carp.

But in the last gill arches are double row bony outgrowths (5 on each side), jutting into the cavity of the pharynx. These pharyngeal teeth easily fray delayed gill racers food, even a brute like clam shells. His teeth surfaces facing up, almost touching the bony protrusion at the top of the throat, of which friction and crushed food.

Stomach in carp absent. Short esophagus connects the throat right from the foregut, where there is basic digestion. Provide his liver enzymes, pancreatic and microscopic digestive glands of the intestinal wall. Lack of gastric folds offset by the inner walls and the large bowel length required for a complete digestion of plant foods. Foregut without any expressed borders goes to the back that opens the anus at the base of the anal fin.

Since carp food diet, as a rule, very diverse, his intestines must cope with the substances of both vegetable and animal origin. Animal food is richer in protein and requires less time to digest than vegetable fibers. The relatively high rate of digestion of animal food is also linked to the fact that with it comes the intestine and a small amount of the digestive enzyme pepsin, which the body does not produce common carp. Digestion process itself does not occur in acidic and in alkaline medium (rN7-7,7).

Urinary system

Filtering the blood, cleansing it of excess salt, fluid residues of dead cells and toxins occurs in the capillaries of the kidneys. Kidney carp appear as two narrow red stripes parenchyma tissue located between the spine and the swimming bladder. Urine excreted by the kidneys, is given to the bladder opening to the outside around the anus.

Underwater dweller carp forced all the time to be in a volatile osmosis. Salt content in carp cells of the body is higher than in the surrounding freshwater. This leads to the fact that water from the outside is constantly striving to penetrate the pores and capillaries in the internal cell membranes liquid fish.

Therefore carp never drinks, and excess water inevitably penetrates into the body, immediately falls into the kidneys and excreted. The walls of the carp intestinal water impermeable, but well-permeable to salt. This feature allows the fish to quickly align their osmotic balance with the changing salinity. This carp and carp are considered semi-fish, which easily take root in completely fresh water and in deltas salted or desalinated sea coastal areas.

Reproductive system

As already mentioned, dioeciously carp fish with external fertilization type. The ovary of the female contains a large number of follicles, which ripen to 700,000 eggs. During spawning mature eggs are derived through the oviduct to the outside, where they are fertilized by milt of males. Arranged ovaries (testes) in the tail section of the abdominal cavity, the intestine behind. Work carp reproductive system is largely dependent on the age, diet and habitat of fish. Eggs large fish are much larger and more viable than the smaller specimens. Ichthyologists also noted that in the ovaries carp receiving adequate nutrition, the number of maturing eggs in half to two times more than the fish with poor nutrition.

Swimming bladder

One of the major internal organs is a carp swimming bladder. It is a two-chamber bag with hollow thin, flexible and very solid walls, filled with a mixture of gases: nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. The permeability of the walls of its extremely low for the gases, eliminating uncontrolled filling or emptying of the bladder. Located swim bladder in the middle part of the trunk, very close to the spine. Such an arrangement is necessary in order to provide an ideal balance of fish in water.

The main function of the swim bladder – to increase the buoyancy of the fish, whose specific gravity greater than the specific weight of fresh water. It is thanks to the work of the swim bladder carp can not only quickly change the depth, but also “float” in the water without the energy costs, without using fins.

Have hatched from eggs larvae gas carp in the swim bladder is not. To fill it, the fish has to rise to the surface and breathe air. By the end of the first year of its carp swim bladder is already fully formed and able to stretch or shrink, depending on the need. Carp physostomous refers to fish, this means that its swim bladder is connected to the foregut special air duct; thus, carp are able to quickly fill the swim bladder gas from the intestine and quickly releasing it, allowing the fish to make sharp climbs and dives.

On the upper wall of the bladder is a small gas gland that is responsible for the regulation of the pressure in it. The dense capillary network of the gland, called ichthyologists Rate Mirabelle, works on the counterblow principle, the supply and removal of the gland gases. The air duct and a gas iron, performing similar functions, balance and correct each other’s work.

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