- 1.The crucian carp Carassius carassius is a species of cyprinid fish native to south-east England, but few studies exist on its growth and reproduction in England, and the species is threatened by introductions of its Asiatic congener, goldfish Carassius auratus. To increase knowledge of the crucian carp as a means of aiding its conservation, the present study assesses the growth (back-calculated length at age, body condition) and reproduction (fecundity, egg size, length and age at maturity) of crucian carp in small ponds of Epping Forest (north-east London, England).
- 2.Evaluation of growth and reproduction data with published data for populations from northern Europe (i.e. latitude ⩾50°) suggest that growth is very variable, even within the same area, and that data on reproductive indices, in particular length and age at maturity, are scarce. In England, the length at age trajectory of crucian carp living in sympatry with feral goldfish Carassius auratus did not differ significantly from allopatric crucian carp populations, but crucian carp body condition and relative fecundity (eggs per body weight) were highest, and mean age and standard length at maturity were lowest in sympatry with goldfish.
- 3.These data suggest that somatic growth and reproductive output may be maximized in crucian carp when confronted by coexistence with feral goldfish. However, the potential impact of goldfish introductions on crucian carp growth and reproduction requires further study, involving a much larger number of crucian carp populations, both in allopatry and sympatry with feral goldfish populations.
© Crown copyright 2009. Reproduced with the permission of Her Majesty's stationery Office. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.