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Common Barbel

The Common Barbel (Barbus barbus) is a species of freshwater fish that belongs to the Cyprinidae family of minnows and carps. It is native throughout Europe and China. It has been introduced to Morocco and Italy. They are usually found at the bottom of rivers and open water. They only play a small role in commercial agriculture, but they are a very popular sport fish.

The adult barbel can be as much as 4 feet long and weigh up to 26 pounds. However it is more typically found 20-40 inches long and weighing on average 2-6 pounds. It has a dark brown or gray mottled appearance with light colored underside. The fins are tinged reddish.

They are typically found feeding in deeper areas of rivers with a rocky or gravel bottom. Feeding is on benthic organisms, including crustaceans, insect larvae and mollusks. Males become mature after three to four years, females after five to eight years, spawning occurs after upriver migration during May, June and July. 8,000 to 12,000 eggs are produced per kilogram of bodyweight. The eggs are poisonous.

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Common Barbel


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