Illustration and accompanying text by Jonathan Newdick. Taken from his book, ‘The Complete Freshwater Fishes of the British Isles’, published by A & C Black in 1979. The book is a particular favourite of ours and we thank Jonathan for allowing us to publish the work on Caught by the River.
The Crucian carp is essentially a fish of rich, even overgrown lakes, canals and slow flowing rivers. It tends to spend most of its time near the bottom, can thrive in waters with a low oxygen content, and often becomes torpid in cold weather.
The Crucian carp is rarely as big as the Carp, commonly reaching up to 25cm in length and occasionally up to 40 or 50cm.
The Crucian carp is a deep bodied fish which is variable in body shape and has a small mouth with no barbels. The back is greenish brown, the sides yellowish brown usually with a slight golden tinge and the belly is pale yellow or orange. The fins are brownish and there is usually a golden or reddish tint on the pelvic, pectoral and anal fins. There are 31 to 36 scales along the lateral line. As well as the normal form illustrated a smaller big headed form occurs in overcrowded waters, and where food and space are plentiful, an excessively deep bodied form develops. A variety of body shapes are known between these two extremes.