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without rank: Otophysa
Order : Carp-like (Cypriniformes)
Subordination : Carp fish-like (Cyprinoidei)
Family : Carp fish (Cyprinidae)
Genre : Barbus
Type : Barbel
Scientific name
Barbus barbus
( Linnaeus , 1758)

The bar , also barbel , Barbel or Pigge ( Barbus barbus called), is a European freshwater fish from the family of carp fish (Cyprinidae). In 2003 it was fish of the year in Germany .


Distribution of the barbel

The species occurs in Europe from the Pyrenees to the Pregel and Dnepr . It is absent south of the Alps , in Scandinavia , in most of Greece and in southern Bulgaria . In Great Britain , she only lives in the far south east. In addition to the nominate form, a distinction is made between three subspecies, B. b. gallicus in the Garonne , B. b. macedonicus in Dalmatia and B. b. thessalus in Thessaly . The barbel lives in oxygen-rich rivers with a sandy or gravelly bottom, the barbel region named after it .


The barbel has an elongated body, the belly line is almost straight, the back only slightly arched. Its body is covered with medium-sized scales ; along the lateral organ it has 55 to 65 scales. The barbel has a trunk-like, lower mouth with fleshy lips and four thick barbels on the upper lip, from which its name is derived ( Latin barba , beard ). The back is colored brown or green-gray, the flanks lighter, greenish to gray-yellow or golden-yellow shimmering, the belly whitish. The pectoral, ventral and anal fin, as well as the lower part of the caudal fin can be reddish, the dorsal fin and the upper part of the caudal fin can be colorless or greenish. The gullet teeth are arranged in "three rows" in the barbel. During spawning time, males develop numerous white nodules arranged in rows on the top of the head and in the neck, the spawning rash . The barbel reaches a length of 25 to 75 cm, in exceptional cases it can be up to one meter long.

Fin formula : dorsal fin III – IV / 7–9, anal fin II-III / 5–6, pectoral fin I / 15–16, ventral fin II / 8, caudal fin 19–20

Way of life

Young barbel

The barbel lives socially and often stays near the ground. It is a flow-loving (rheophile) fish species. Barbel hunt for food during the day as well as at night and feed on benthic invertebrates, small fish and sometimes also on algae. The fish overwinter in large groups at places with little current in rivers. Females are usually larger than males.

During the spawning season, which falls between May and July, the barbel migrate upriver in schools. Females spawn for the first time between the ages of 3 and 7, while males usually spawn 1 to 2 years earlier. The non-sticky eggs are released into a spawning pit in loose gravel. Often many small males wait near spawning pits to "ambush" a couple when the female releases their eggs and to fertilize the eggs as well. These males are also known as "sneakers". Up to 130 males and one female have been spotted at a spawning pit.

Hazardous situation

The International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN lists the barbel in the Red List of Threatened Species as Least Concern , but in Germany it is classified as a type of responsibility within the Federal Government's National Strategy for Biological Diversity. It is a widespread species and has had to cope with drastic changes as a result of pollution and water regulations, but its situation is improving again.


The roe of the barbel and the belly meat surrounding it are inedible for humans and lead to nausea, whether eaten raw or cooked.

Individual evidence

  1. Horst Müller Pisces of Europe - Observe and determine . Neumann Verlag, Leipzig - Radebeul, 1987, p. 180, ISBN 3-7402-0044-8
  2. a b Maurice Kottelat and Jörg Freyhof: European Handbook of Freshwater Fishes . ISBN 978-2-8399-0298-4 .
  3. Species in particular responsibility of Germany ( memento of August 2, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) on the homepage of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, accessed on June 3, 2016
  4. Barbus barbus in the endangered Red List species the IUCN 2009. Posted by: Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M., 2008. Accessed on March 6 of 2010.
  5. Andreas Vilcinskas: Fish - Central European freshwater species and marine fish of the North and Baltic Seas. BLV Verlagsgesellschaft München 2000; ISBN 3-405-15848-6 . P. 78
  6. Kurt Floericke: Local fish Kosmos Stuttgart 1913, p. 26f


Web links

Commons : Barbus barbus  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Barbe  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations