Barb (fish)

A barb is one of various ray-finned fish species in a non-phylogenetic group, with members in the family Cyprinidae, and especially the genera Barbus and Puntius, but many others also. They were formerly united with the barbels in the subfamily Barbinae but that group is paraphyletic with the Cyprininae. If the Labeoninae are recognized as distinct, many small African "barbs" would probably, however, warrant recognition as a new subfamily.[1]

Barbus petenyi

The root of the word "barb" is common in cyprinid names of European languages, from the Latin barba ("beard") (COD):

  • barb from Catalan
  • barbi from Finnish
  • barbo from Spanish
  • barbeau from French
  • barbo from Italian

and many others. This is in reference to the barbels which are prominently seen around the mouth of many "barbs".


Genera that contain species with common names including "barb":

  • Barbichthys
  • Barbodes
  • Barboides
  • Barbonymus tinfoil barbs
  • Barbopsis
  • Barbus typical barbels (and provisionally African barbs)
  • Caecobarbus
  • Capoeta
  • Carasobarbus
  • Catla
  • Catlocarpio
  • Chela (fish)
  • Coptostomabarbus
  • Cyclocheilichthys
  • Discherodontus
  • Hypselobarbus
  • Hypsibarbus[2]
  • Labeobarbus
  • Leptobarbus
  • Luciobarbus (may belong in Barbus)
  • Messinobarbus (may belong in Barbus)
  • Megarasbora
  • Osteochilus
  • Poropuntius
  • Probarbus
  • Puntioplites
  • Puntius
  • Sawbwa Sawbwa Barb

See also


  1. de Graaf et al. (2007)
  2. "Hypsibarbus wetmorei" (in Thai). Retrieved July 1, 2016.


  • de Graaf, Martin; Megens, Hendrik-Jan; Samallo, Johannis & Sibbing, Ferdinand A. (2007): Evolutionary origin of Lake Tana's (Ethiopia) small Barbus species: indications of rapid ecological divergence and speciation. Anim. Biol. 57(1): 39-48. doi:10.1163/157075607780002069 (HTML abstract)
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