Asian carp in Chicago

Yesterday, I was delighted to discover that the Shedd Aquarium has a collection of Asian carp in their exhibit on fish of Great Lakes. The carp, as you'll recall, are gigantic, invasive fish that are quickly taking over Midwestern waterways. They can eat 40% of their own bodyweight in a day and have a dangerous fondness for jumping out of the water and, occasionally, smacking humans in the head when they do so.

This fine fellow — and the smaller Asian carp behind him — came from a lagoon (man-made lake) in Chicago. Charles Knapp, a scientist and the Aquarium's vice president for conservation, told me that they were probably originally bait fish, released into the lagoons by fishermen. He also introduced me to an entirely new concept, the charismatic invasive species.