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Barbus barbus

(Common Barbel)


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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Arabic:

بني أصفر

Common Names in Belarusian:


Common Names in Bulgarian:

Biala, Byala mryana, Dunavska, Rechna mriana

Common Names in Chinese:

Common Names in Czech:

Mrena, Parma Obecn, Parma obecná, Parma R, Parma říční

Common Names in Danish:

Barbe, Flodbarbe

Common Names in Dutch:


Common Names in English:

Barbel, Barbet, Barbu, Common Barbel

Common Names in Finnish:


Common Names in French:

Barbeau, Barbeau commun, Barbeau fluviatile, Barbel, Barbet, Barbillon, Barbot, Barbu, Drenek

Common Names in Georgian:

წვერა (სახეობა)

Common Names in German:

Bambet, Barbe, Barbel, Barben, Barbern, Barbine, Barm, Berbe, Berger, Bigge, Borbine, Flu, Flußbarbe, Flussbarbe, Lotusbarbe, Parme, Pigge, Sauchen, Sömer, Wei, Weißfisch

Common Names in Hungarian:

Márna, Rózsás márna

Common Names in Hungarian (Magyar):

Rózsás márna

Common Names in Italian:


Common Names in Japanese:

バーベル (魚)

Common Names in Lithuanian:

Paprastasis ūsorius

Common Names in Macedonian:

Bela mrena

Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:

第聂魮, 第聶魮, 魮

Common Names in Norwegian:

Barbe, Flodbarbe

Common Names in Polish:


Common Names in Portuguese:

Barbeso, Barbo

Common Names in Romanian:

Breana, Imbreana, Mreana, Mreana alba, Mreana del Dunare, Mrena

Common Names in Rumanian:

Breana, Imbreana, Mreană, Mreana alba, Mreana del Dunare, Mrena

Common Names in Russian:

Marena, Usach, Usach obyknovennyi, Usatsch, Обыкновенный усач, усач, усач миро, усач-мирон

Common Names in Serbian:

Mrena, Мрена

Common Names in Slovak:

Mrena Obycajn, Mrena obycajná

Common Names in Slovene:

Mrena, Navadna mrena

Common Names in Slovenian:


Common Names in Spanish:

Barbito, Barbo Com, Barbo Comizo, Barbo común, Barbo de rio, Becut

Common Names in Spanish, Castilian:

Barbito, Barbo común, Barbo de rio, Becut

Common Names in Swedish:


Common Names in Turkish:

Bayağı bıyıklı balık

Common Names in Ukrainian:

Марена звичайна


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Physical Description


Males are commonly 30 cm (Total Length) in length when caught/marketed, but may be as large as 120 cm (Total Length).


Lives in the deeper, faster-flowing upper reaches of rivers with stony or gravel bottom (barbel zones ).

Typically found in a lake at a mean distance from sea level of 291.98 meters (957.94 feet).[1]

Ecology: Habitat :
From premontane to lowland reaches of clear, warm, medium sized to large rivers with fast current and gravel bottom . Occasionally in lakes . Spawns usually in very shallow, fast-flowing waters, in riffles. Overwinters often in large aggregations inactive or active in slow-flowing river habitats.

Biology :
Adults often shoal, hiding under overhanging trees or bridges during day. Most active during dusk and dawn. Lives up to 15 years. Males usually spawn for the first time at 2-5 years, females 1-2 years later. Spawns in May-July, rarely until September when temperature reaches 15°C. Females spawn several times, usually at intervals of 10-15 days each season . Adults often undertake considerable spawning migrations. Lake populations migrate to tributaries. Individual females spawn with several males. Males assemble at spawning grounds and follow ripe females, often with much splashing, to shallow riffles. Males may exhibit courting or sneaking tactics in spawning sites. Courting males follow females to spawning site and, during the spawning act, one male swims head to head with the female. Sneaking males, waiting in the spawning site, then join the couple and try to fertilize eggs . Up to 130 males have been reported to be involved in a single spawning act. Females deposit 2-3 portions of non-sticky eggs into excavations made in the gravel. Feeding larvae drift a short distance from spawning site to shallow shoreline habitats. Larvae and juveniles are benthic , in very shallow shoreline habitats. They leave the shores for faster-flowing waters as they grow. Larvae and juveniles active during both day and night. Feeds on a wide variety of benthic invertebrates, small fish and sometimes on algae.[2].

List of Habitats:


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Feeds chiefly on benthic invertebrates , such as small crustaceans, insect larvae, mollusks, mayfly and midge larvae[3].


Spawning occurs from May to July after the fish have migrated upriver [4]. Eggs are poisonous[5][3].


Potamodromous .


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Barbus barbusBarbus barbus barbus (Linnaeus • Barbus barbus borysthenicus Dybowski • Barbus barbus gallicus Karaman • Barbus communis Nordmann • Barbus communis Perty • Barbus fluviatilis alba Krauss • Barbus fluviatilis aurata Fatio • Barbus fluviatilis aurata Veesenmayer • Barbus fluviatilis borysthenicus (Non Dybowski • Barbus fluviatilis Fitzinger • Barbus fluviatilis tyrasensis Dybowski • Barbus mayori Valenciennes • Barbus microphthalmus Bonaparte • Barbus vulgaris Fleming • Cyprinus barba Linnaeus • Cyprinus barbusCyprinus barbus Linnaeus • Cyprinus barbus Linnaeus, 1758


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 02-Feb-1998

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Barbus

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 229 species and subspecies in this genus. Here are just 100 of them:

B. acuticeps (Clanwilliam Yellowfish) · B. affinis (Spottail Barb) · B. afrohamiltoni (Hamilton´s Barb) · B. afrovernayi (Spottail Barb) · B. albanicus (Luciobarbus Albanicus) · B. aloyi (Ripon Falls Barbel) · B. altianalis (Ripon Falls Barbel) · B. altianalis altianalis (Ripon Barbel) · B. altianalis radcliffii (Barbel) · B. amatolicus (Amatola Barb) · B. andrewi (Berg-Breede River Whitefish) · B. anema (Barbel) · B. annectens (Broadstriped Barb) · B. anoplus (Chubbyhead Barb) · B. apleurogramma (East African Red Finned Barb) · B. arenatus (Arenatus Barb) · B. argenteus (Rosefin Barb) · B. armatus (Pa Tiok) · B. arulius (Redtail Barb) · B. aspius (Drakensberg Minnow) · B. atkinsoni (Dash-Dot Barb) · B. balcanicus (Large Spot Barbel) · B. barbus (Common Barbel) · B. barnardi (Blackback Barb) · B. barotseensis (Barotse Barb) · B. bellcrossi (Gorgeous Barb) · B. bergi (Bulgarian Barbel) · B. bifrenatus (Hyphen Barb) · B. bigornei (Carp) · B. binotatus (Spotted Barb) · B. bovanicus (Bowany Barb) · B. brachycephalus (Caspian Barbel) · B. brachycephalus brachycephalus (Aral Barbel) · B. brachycephalus caspius (Caspian Barbel) · B. brachygramma (Linespotted Ufipa Barb) · B. breviceps (Shorthead Barb) · B. brevidorsalis (Dwarf Barb) · B. brevipinnis (Shortfin Barb) · B. burgi (Berg River Redfin) · B. bynni (Silver Fish) · B. bynni bynni (Barbel) · B. bynni occidentalis (Niger Barb) · B. calidus (Clanwilliam Redfin) · B. callensis (Algerian Barb) · B. callipterus (Clipper Barb) · B. camptacanthus (African Redfinned Barb) · B. caninus (Brook Barbel) · B. andrewi (Clanwilliam Redfin) · B. capito (Bulat-Mai Barbel) · B. capito capito (Bulat-Mai Barbel) · B. capito conocephalus (Bulatmai Barbel) · B. carnaticus (Carnatica Carp) · B. carpathicus (Carpathian Barbel) · B. caudimarginatus (Cauvery Barb) · B. cercops (Luambwa Barb) · B. chelynoides (Dark Mahseer) · B. choloensis (Silver Barb) · B. ciscaucasicus (Terek Barbel) · B. claudinae (Claudine's Barb) · B. clauseni (Upper Zambezi Yellowfish) · B. codringtonii (Upper Zambezi Yellowfish) · B. comiza (Iberian Barbel) · B. comizo (Iberian Barbel) · B. comizo comizo (Iberian Barbel) · B. conchonius (Turkestan Barbel) · B. congicus (Congo Barb) · B. crocodilensis (Rosefin Barb) · B. cumingii (Two Spot Barb) · B. cyri (Kura Barbel) · B. dorsimaculatus (Blackline Barb) · B. dorsolineatus (Bostreep-Ghieliemientjie) · B. douronensis (River Carp) · B. duchesnii (Bigspot Barb) · B. eburneensis (Carp) · B. enoploides (Orange-Fin Barb) · B. erubescens (Twee River Redfin) · B. esocinus (Mangar) · B. euboicus (Evia Barbel) · B. eutaenia (Orangefin Barb) · B. everetti (African Banded Barb) · B. fasciatus (Banded Barb) · B. fasciolatus (African Banded Barb) · B. filamentosus (Black-Spot Barb) · B. fluviatilis (Dharna Barb) · B. foureaui (Dharna Barb) · B. foutensis (Carp) · B. gelius (Golden Dwarf Barb) · B. goktschaicus (Gokcha Barbel) · B. gonionotus (Thai Silver Carp) · Labeobarbus intermedius subsp. intermedius (Briána) · B. guganio (Glass-Barb) · B. guiraonis (Barbo Mediterraneo) · B. gurneyi (Redtail Barb) · B. haasi (Barbo De Cola Roja) · B. haasianus (Sickle-Fin Barb) · B. hoevenii (Red Finned Cigar Shark) · B. holotaenia (Spotscale Barb) · B. hospes (Namaquab Barb) · B. hulstaerti (Butterfly Barb) · B. innocens (Inconspicious Barb)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal December 09, 2007:



  1. Standard Deviation = 219.790 based on 1,408 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
  2. Freyhof, J. 2008. Barbus barbus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 30 January 2012. [back]
  3. Maitland, P.S. and R.N. Campbell (1992). Freshwater fishes of the British Isles. HarperCollins Publishers, London.368 p. [back]
  4. Muus, B.J. and P. Dahlström (1968). Süßwasserfische. BLV Verlagsgesellschaft, München. 224 p. [back]
  5. Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea and W.B. Scott (1991). World fishes important to North Americans. Exclusive of species from the continental waters of the United States and Canada. Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. ( ... [back]
Last Revised: 2015-02-06