Barbus barbus - Barbel

Phylum: Chordata - Class: Actinopterygii - Order: Cypriniformes - Family: Cyprinidae

Barbel shoal

Barbel have been introduced into some of the rivers of eastern Wales - notably the Wye, the Dee and the upper Severn - and they have done well there (much to the annoyance of some of the game fishery owners, who perceive barbel as competing for food and for spawning area with salmon).

The streamlined barbel can hug the river bed in fast flows while feeding on passing invertebrates. Freshwater shrimps, nymphs and caddis larvae are their staple diet, but they will also take small fishes, crayfish and swan mussels.

Barbel are long-lived fish and can grow to well over 10lb (4kg).


The British record barbel, caught at Adams Mill on the River Great Ouse in Bedfordshire in 2006, weighed 21lb 1oz.The captor was Mr Grahame King.

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