The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that occurs in Britain today is the most commercially important freshwater fish kept in ponds, and has been selectively bred for centuries. This breeding has led to two main differences between ‘domesticated’ carp and wild carp (which do not occur in Britain); domestic carp have a much faster growth rate and a relatively short body with a high back and deep belly. The body is greyish to bronze in colour and two fleshy barbels project downwards at either side of the mouth . The number of scales varies greatly, with some individuals (known as leather carp) completely lacking scales. The usual form found in Britain is called the king carp, another form, the mirror carp has a single row of large scales along the sides.


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