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(barbels), a genus of fishes of the family Cyprinidae. Members of the genus have two pairs of barbels. The dorsal fin has a denticulated, sometimes smooth, spine.
Barbus are distributed in the continental waters of Africa, Europe, and Asia. The USSR has nine species, which are found in the basins of the Sea of Azov and the Black, Caspian, Baltic, and Aral seas. Barbus are divided into river species, such as the true barbel (B. barbus) and the Crimean barbel (B. tauricus), lake species, such as the Gokcha barbel (B. goktschaicus), and migratory species, such as the Aral barbel (B. brachycephalus) and Bulatmai barbel (B. capito).
The species of greatest commercial value is the Aral barbel, which lives in the Aral Sea. The Aral barbel is up to 120 cm long and weighs more than 20 kg. It feeds on bivalve mollusks. For spawning it enters rivers and swims several hundred kilometers upstream. It spawns from May through July. Fecundity is about 200,000 eggs. The majority of the fry descend to the sea the same year or the following year. In order to preserve the species, the Aral barbel is raised on fish farms.
REFERENCENikol’skii, G. V. Chastnaia ikhtiologiia, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1971.