Food habits and relative abundances of native piscivores: implications for controlling common carp

Todd D. VanMiddlesworth, Greg G. Sass, Bradley A. Ray, Timothy W. Spier, John D. Lyons, Nerissa N. McClelland, Andrew F. Casper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Common carp (Cyprinus carpio, carp) are a widespread and ecologically destructive invasive fish species. Carp management is critical for maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems, and many control options are available, but most have proven to be ineffective. Carp abundances have increased at The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, Illinois, since its restoration in 2007 despite management efforts to suppress this species. We conducted a comparative diet study in Illinois, Tennessee, and Wisconsin to test whether bowfin (Amia calva), spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus, gar), and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) commonly preyed upon carp. We focused on bowfin and gar because they are hypoxia-tolerant, similar to carp. We also assessed whether specific fish community characteristics were correlated with carp relative abundances. We found no evidence that bowfin, gar, and bass consumed large numbers of carp. However, carp may be limited in some ecosystems (e.g., Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee) through alternative mechanisms associated with bowfin, gar, bass, and bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) included in a diverse native fish community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-101
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Bowfin
  • Common carp
  • Feeding habits
  • Floodplain restoration
  • Largemouth bass
  • Spotted gar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Food habits and relative abundances of native piscivores: implications for controlling common carp'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this