CYPRINUS the carp, in natural histo ry, a genus of fishes of the order Abdo minales. Generic character: mouth small and without teeth ; gill membrane, with three rays; ventral fins often, and, per haps, generally nine-rayed. Of this fish there are fifty species, of which it will be sufficient to notice the following. : C. car pio, or the common carp. This fish in habits the slow and stagnant waters of many countries in Europe, in which it is found extremely to vary in size, from 16 inches to the length of 3 or 4 feet. In Persia the carp is not unfrequently found of this length, and will weigh from 30 to 40 pounds. It was introduced into Eng land in the 16th century. It feeds on herbs, worms, and water insects : it is ex tremely prolific, the roe having been oc casionally found to weigh as much as the real substance of the fish : the principle of vitality in the carp is uncommonly strong: it may be kept alive in a clamp situation for a very considerable time af ter being taken from the water ; end if wrapped in wet moss, and plunged in wa ter every four hours, and fed on bread and milk, will not only continue to exist, but will thrive and fatten ; it has been as certained to live to a very considerable age,wben they become completely white. The carp was classed by the ancients among sea-fish ; it is, however, generally found in ponds and rivers ; and now con sidered as a fresh-water fish. For a va riety of this species, called the large scal ed carp, see Pisces, Plate III. fig. 4.
C. anratus, or gold-fish. This was in troduced into England at the close of the 17th century: and, towards the middle of the last, was become extremely common. It exceeds in splendour all the other in. habitants of the waters: in the fnll grown fish the prevailing colour is that of the richest gold, accompanied by a tinge of scarlet on the upper part, and of silver on the lower. Its native spot is supposed to be the province of Kiang in the south of China, from which it has been convey ed to every part of that vast empire, be ing introduced into the gardens of the opulent, and even into their apartments, in vases of immene size, and the most ex quisite workmanship. It appears sensi ble to favours, and capable of attachment; and by the sprightliness of its movements also, as well as the unrivalled splendour of its colours, is one of the most interesting objects of care and attention to the ladies of that country. In England it has now long excited particular regard. It is fed with small worms and fine bread, and oc casionally with the yolks of eggs dried and pounded to powder ; it breeds as rapidly as the common carp; a frequent change of water is desirable for it, par ticularly in hot weather, and the vessel in which it is kept should be considerably open to the air.
C. tiaca, or the tench. This is found in almost every country, and is sometimes seen of the weight of eight,ten, and even twenty pounds : its common length, how ever, is about twelve inches ; and its scales, as numbered by some curious na turalists, to have amounted to thirty thou sand ; its favourite haunts are 'stagnant waters, which have a soft and muddy bottom, and under this it is supposed, by many, to lie concealed and torpid during the winter. The ancients considered it as a fish fit only for vulgar tables, and in Germany the same opinion is now preva lent ; in England, however, it is consider ed as a delicacy. It differs much in quali ty, according to the situation it dwells in, and the male fish is generally considered as far superior to the famale. The tench resembles the carp in extraordinary te naciousness of life, as also in rapid growth and extreme fecundity.
C.jeses, the chub, is a fish frequently to be met with in this country, but is ge nelmlly much smaller here than in many other parts of Europe, as it weighs iu Germany commonly from five to eight pounds : it is strong and swift, and pre fers the most clear and rapid streams : it grows but slowly, and it is considered as tasteless and coarse food.
C. gohio, or gudgeon, abounds much in the rivers of this country, particularly in the Kennet and Cole, where it is also , in the highest perfection. Gudgeons very rarely exceed a few ounces in weight : they prefer small lakes and gently flow ing rivers, especially where there is a gravelly bottom, to all other situations : small worms and aquatic insects arc their food, and in quest of these they almost al ways remain:at the bottom of the streams where they reside : they are extremely prolific, and highly admired for the ta ble : they do not deposit at once all their spawn, but with considerable intervals, so that the whole process continues for a month. In some places of Germany the lakes are most copiously stored with these C. phoxinus, or minnow, is frequent in clear gravelly streams, and in England appears first in March, and towards No vember shelters itself in the muddy or gravelly bottom, remaining in this se creted, and, perhaps, in a torpid state, during the winter ; it is about three inchesin length; and is one of the most elegant of European fishes : it is grega rious, and though but seldom used for food, on account of its minute size, is re garded as a very delicate fish: it is fre quently employed as bait for trout and other comparatively large fishes, known to prey upon them with great avidity.