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There are some carps which differ in colour, or has some easily noticeable morphological differences. But apart from that, most of the carps look "almost" the same. How does one differentiate one species from another? Citing behavioral differences, differences in morphological characteristics (maybe subtle) and the likes which addresses this problem would be helpful. The characteristics with broader scope would be better.

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  • $\begingroup$ This might actually be a more complicated question. The phylogeny for carps and other members of the Cyprinidae family have not been well resolved. Also, "Carp" belong to numerous genera including Carassius, Cirrhinus, Ctenopharyngodon, Cyprinus, Hypophthalmichthy, Mylopharyngodon, etc. so they're not all actually related (below the family level). I would assume you could find a fairly easy way to differentiate these genera from each other. But...Given all this, are you seeking to differentiate all carp or just Cyprinus species? $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Jan 30 '16 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ I framed this question mainly keeping Cyprinus species in mind. $\endgroup$ – elvarox Jan 30 '16 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ There isn't actually. Every species of Cyprinidae has its own distinct characters and sometimes for the ones that are too similar, like Labeo rohita, Labeo bata and Mrigel one can only distinguish them after regular examination. There's no set rules/guidelines but ones you develop an eye you know what ways they are different. Yet knowing the fin formula can help. But learning them all for so many species and remembering them is absolutely beyond human abilities. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Feb 23 '17 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ If you are interested in some specific species. I think this can be answered. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Feb 23 '17 at 15:02
  • $\begingroup$ Let's consider a school of fresh water carps which is readily available. I would like to know of some specific characteristics which are more effective than others when it comes to distinguishing between them i.e. if most of them can be told apart using a trait then it is significant. Developing an eye is just an observation, deducing inferences and standardizing them in a way, so that they can be used to understand subtleties, is what science should be all about. $\endgroup$ – elvarox Feb 27 '17 at 12:11

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