The underlying mechanisms responsible for ecological plasticity and consequent invasive character of non-native freshwater fish species, variations in growth and life history traits in gibel carp Carassius gibelio (Bloch) were compared in natural and artificial water bodies of Turkey. Females significantly outnumbered males in all natural and most artificial waters. Discriminate function analysis differentiated gibel populations into three separate groups (natural lakes, artificial water bodies and running waters), with significant differences among separated groups in growth index, standard length and age at maturity, relative fecundity and gonado-somatic index, but not in egg diameter and both generalised and relative condition. Growth features (e.g. growth index and relative condition) and reproductive features (e.g. relative and absolute fecundity) positively correlated with water body area. No correlations were found for any growth or life history trait with depth, latitude and altitude. With the exception of smaller size at maturity, all traits were higher in populations from artificial water bodies than those inhabiting running waters, suggesting gibel carp is required to exert more reproductive effort to invade natural ecosystems than artificial waters.