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Invasive Species: Silver Carp

Silver Carp

(Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)
*Not detected in Michigan*


Report this species to:

Lucas Nathan, DNR Fisheries Division,, 517-599-9323.

If possible, please take one or more photos of the invasive species you are reporting. Also make note of the location, date and time of the observation. This will aid in verification of your report. You may be asked to provide your name and contact information if follow-up is needed.


- Or - use the invasive (Asian) carp reporting form.



- Or - use the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) online reporting tool.


- Or - download the MISIN smartphone app and report from your phone -



  • May exceed 3 feet in length, can weigh up to 60 lbs.
  • Light silver body with a white belly.
  • Eyes sit below the toothless mouth.
  • Keel extends from the anal fin anteriorly (forward) past the pelvic fin base.

silver carp

Illustration by Joseph R. Tomelleri.

silver carp photo
Photo courtesy of Nate Tessler, EnviroScience, Inc.,


A threat to the Great Lakes!

Silver carp feed on plankton, a primary food for many native fish including walleye, yellow perch and lake whitefish.  They are voracious eaters, consuming up to 40% of their weight per day.

These fast-growing fish can reach up to 60 pounds, and each female can produce up to one million eggs.

Silver carp leap high out of the water when disturbed by boat motors. Boaters can be and have been injured by these leaping fish. Fear of injury could keep people away from recreational boating activities, which would have a negative impact on the $38 billion tourism economy in the state. See a video of silver carp jumping out of the water.

In the Great Lakes, silver carp would be likely to populate nearshore areas and large rivers, which could reduce sport and commercial fishing opportunities, threatening the $7 billion fishing industry in the Great Lakes.  

Habitat: These fish primarily inhabit large rivers. They are tolerate higher salinity levels and low oxygen levels.

Diet: Silver carp filter-feed on phytoplankton and zooplankton.

Native Range: Major Pacific drainages in eastern Asia.

U.S. Distribution: Silver carp have been reported in 12 states surrounding the Mississippi and Ohio River basins.

Potential Means of Introduction: Illinois River or flood connections with Great Lakes waters.


Silver Carp Invasive Species Alert - Printable PDF


Proposed 2010 Plan for the Prevention, Detection, Assessment, and Management of Asian Carps in Michigan Waters

Status Report for the Proposed 2010 Plan for the Prevention, Detection, Assessment, and Management of Asian Carps in Michigan Waters, April 2012 

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