The grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus), also known as "White Amur" is a herbivorous freshwater fish native to China, and can be found across Asia -- especially in Malaysia -- and many states in the US now, as well. It is known for its striking colouration and large scales. The grass carp grows to about 125 cm, and usually lives for between 8-10 years. They require rapidly moving waterways for reproduction - generally reproducing during China's monsoon season.

In recent years, farm-raised, sterile triploid grass carp have seen use as a natural ecological alternative in some bodies of water, especially in Florida, to pesticides, due to their consumption of "nuisance" aquatic grasses and weeds that breed mosquito larvae. This said, once introduced into a foreign ecosystem, they are generally difficult to remove, and uncontrolled introduction into some environments - such as Inle Lake in Myanmar (Burma) - has has adverse consequences. Introduction to most bodies of water in the US requires that they be sterile.

The grass carp is fished in many regions, mostly Asian, as it is a tasty, excellent source of nutrients. In China, where it is pronounced "cao yu" (草鱼), or "grass fish", it is said to be of value with regards to the traditional medicine scale, having a "warm" nature. When prepared, it is generally fried, broiled, or stewed. The author of this writeup has had it in a brown sauce, fried with pork and onions, sprinkled with scallions :).

References: (Using Babelfish translation)

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