Summary


Mylopharyngodon piceus is a freshwater carp native to rivers and lakes of Asia that was introduced in Europe, the United States, and other countries. This species is a carnivorous bottom-dweller fish that does not leap out of the water and, consequently, is not easily detected or caught in large and deep rivers. M. piceus is considered one of the four Chinese major carps (among Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, H. nobilis, and Ctenopharyngodon idella), which has a high growth rate and an apparent great invasion potential. Large juveniles and adults use their heavy pharyngeal teeth to crash molluscs shells, mainly feeding on these animals. Thus, besides culturing M. piceus to sell as meat because of its good flavour and highly marketable potential, this species is also cultured in polycultures with other carps or other fish species for biological control, to feed from molluscs (mainly gastropods) that are potential intermediate hosts for diseases or that can cause other problems. In the United States, this species is mostly used for snail control in catfish ponds. Spawners migrate upstream during spring to early summer to spawn in open and turbid waters. An increase in the river flow is the key triggering factor to spawning. Wild information about this carp species is rare and much information related to farm conditions is also still missing, especially related to aggression, substrate, stress response, malformations, and slaughter process. Further research about basic information from wild and cultured M. piceus is needed.