Attack of the Giant Fish People

//Attack of the Giant Fish People

Attack of the Giant Fish People

I saw these gigantic creatures slithering through the shallows — whipping up mud with each slap of the tail. They looked like radioactive versions of pond koi, ranging from about two to four feet long. And where I was, it was just me and and wind and the sound of their slither, evoking the Creature Features that mesmerized me when I was a kid.

Common Carp

Common Carp - ©ingridtaylar

But . . . they’re just carp. Common Carp, or sometimes, European Carp, or for the more pragmatic Cyprinus carpio. The “European” is probably a tip-off that they’re non-native, introduced in the late 19th century and prized at the time as a food fish. They’re often considered a nuisance for their habit of stirring up sediments during feeding, disturbing the area for other species. Of course, they can’t help it. It’s what they do.

From a visual perspective, though, they are spectacular. The late afternoon sun created this gold sheen on their scales. Unfortunately, they were so immersed in the mud, they didn’t cooperate for a mugshot. This is the best I got from them.

Common Carp

Common Carp - ©ingridtaylar

Common Carp

Common Carp - ©ingridtaylar

2 Comments

  1. Fred Biliter March 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Ingrid, I am a graphic designer in Chicago and am interested in possibly using some of the common carp images on your blog. I enjoy your images and natural philosophy very much… Basically, I am working on a project in the Chicago area which is an experimental, Wetlands Demonstration Project in which old quarries, a defunct golf course, and farmers fields have been returned to their native wetland state. Included in the changes have been efforts to restore native plants, bring back native animal and bird life, and clean up a section of the river (which runs through the wetlands). By pumping the water into the wetlands to naturally filter and clear the water of run-off fertilizers and other impurities, the cleaned water seeps back into the river. We are currently looking to get a grant to attempt to naturally reduce the carp population (without poisons or electrical shock etc.) in a stretch of the river which will allow native game fish, and emergent and submergent plant life to flourish again. As your photos of the carp show, their bottom feeding activity, is very destructive to river bottoms and plant life causing turbidity and uprooting plant beds where other fishes naturally spawn… There are loads of carp photos out there but yours show their behavior very well… are there more images? I am not clear about usage fees etc., more info about the “Des Plaines River Wetlands Project” at wetlandsresearch.org
    Their site needs a lot of work, send me a number and time to call or email and my phone 312 337 4674. Thanks for your patience, Fred.

  2. ingrid March 31, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Fred, thanks for the kind comments. What a valuable project, and not unlike the wetlands restoration efforts we’re fortunate to have around San Francisco Bay. Let me look through my carpish archives 😉 — and see what additional images I might have for your use. I’ll send a separate note by email. I don’t believe I have any shots of these same carp which show their eyes or mouths clearly, but I’ll check. Even in the shallows, they manage to keep their faces submerged.

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