Biological Invasions

, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 1703–1718 | Cite as

Impacts of an invasive virus (CyHV-3) on established invasive populations of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) in North America

  • Ronald E. ThresherEmail author
  • Jake Allman
  • Laura Stremick-Thompson
Original Paper


The effects of invasive pathogens on wild fish and fish communities generally are not well documented. We compiled information on the impacts of mass mortality events due to Cyprinid Herpesvirus-3 (CyHV-3), otherwise known as Koi Herpesvirus, on wild North American populations of the invasive cyprinid, Cyprinus carpio (common carp), based on our personal experiences, discussions with North American fish ecologists and virologists, a detailed survey of technical and popular publications and a web search. We found evidence of 17 mass die-offs of carp due to CyHV-3 in North America since 2004, for 7 of which we were able to obtain information about carp before and after the events. For 6 of the events, effects of the die-offs on carp population indices appeared to be slight. Carp size-frequency distributions before and after the well-documented 2007/08 event in Ontario were also not conspicuously different. The exceptional event was at Blue Springs Lake, Missouri, in 2012, at which we estimate 65% of the carp present died as a result of CyHV-3 infections and carp abundance continues to decline. Why Blue Springs Lake differs from other events in North America is not clear. Overall, carp die-offs due to CyHV-3 in North America (1) confirm laboratory studies that only common carp are affected, (2) are of brief duration (3–6 weeks), (3) are not repeated in subsequent years and (4) cause much lower mortality (with the exception of Blue Springs Lake) than previously reported for carp in aquaculture facilities or in the laboratory. In terms of both wild carp and their effects on aquatic communities, the short and long-term effects of most die-offs appear to be slight. These features could have implications for the effectiveness of the proposed use of CyHV-3 to reduce feral carp populations in Australia.


Biological control Koi herpesvirus Mass mortality Invasive pathogen 



We sincerely appreciate the personal communications input from individuals familiar with CyHV-3 die-offs in North America and those who helped us contact such individuals. We thank A. Branson (Missouri Dept. of Conservation), E. Brown, M. Garvin, S. Gibson and D. Taillon (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry), M. Clancy (New York Dept. of Environment and Conservation), S. Clouthier, A. Drake and D. Watkinson (Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada), R. Dunham (Auburn Univ.), L. Gamble, J. Guinotte and L. Hopper (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), G. Garnett (Lower Colorado Multi-species Conservation Program), J. Lumsden (Univ. of Guelph), M. Jones (Michigan State Univ.), V. Millano (Colorado Parks and Wildlife), N. Phelps and P. Sorensen (Univ. of Minnesota), G. Southward (Texas Parks and Wildlife) and G. Whelan (Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources). This compilation was stimulated by discussions and correspondence with M. Barwick, D. Gilligan and K. McColl. The manuscript benefited from comments by D. Gibson-Reinemer and two anonymous referees, who are also thanked.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SF TechRidgewayAustralia
  2. 2.Missouri Department of ConservationLee’s SummitUSA
  3. 3.Wisconsin Department of Natural ResourcesHoricon Education CenterHoriconUSA

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