Bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) have been introduced throughout Europe, mostly unintentionally, and little attention has been given to their potential for natural reproduction. We investigated the presence of young-of-the-year bighead carp in an irrigation canal network of Northern Italy and the environmental conditions associated with spawning in 2011–2015. The adult bighead carp population of the canal network was composed by large, likely mature, individuals with an average density of 45.2 kg/ha (over 10 fold more than in the main river). The 29 juvenile bighead carp found were 7.4–13.1 cm long (TL) and weighed 9.5–12.7 g. Using otolith-derived spawning dates we estimated that these juveniles were 94–100 days old, placing their fertilization and hatch dates in mid-to-end-June. Using this information in combination with thermal and hydraulic data, we examined the validity of existing models predicting the onset of spawning conditions and the viability of egg pathways to elucidate spawning location of the species. While evidence of reproduction was not found every year, we determined that potentially viable spawning conditions (annual degree-days and temperature thresholds) and pathways of egg drift suitable for hatching are present in short, slow-flowing canals.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||First evidence of bighead carp wild recruitment in Western Europe, and its relation to hydrology and temperature|
|Series title||PLoS ONE|
|Contributing office(s)||Columbia Environmental Research Center|
|Description||e0189517; 13 p.|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|