Cyprinids (Barbs)


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Barbs, carps, minnows, rasboras, mahseers and goldfish belong to the Cyprinidae family. They are distributed in Asia, Europe, North America and Africa. They are distinguished by having their teeth in their throat rather than their jaws. These teeth, called pharyngeal teeth, are arranged in 1 to 3 rows. Their upper jaws are usually protrusible and most of them have mouth barbels.

Cyprinids are primarily freshwater fishes with only 2 known true marine species. Most of them are riverine. They usually spawn in the beginning of rainy season after a long period of drought.

The Cyprinidae are the largest freshwater fish family with 361 genera and about 2900 species worldwide. Malaysia has about 170 species.


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Scientific Name: Balantiocheilos melanopterus  (Bleeker, 1850)
English Name: Tricolor Sharkminnow, Bala Shark, Silver Shark, Tricolor Shark
Chinese Name: 黑鳍袋唇鱼 (Hēi qí dài chún yú), 银鲨 (Yín shā)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Ekor Hangus
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาฉลามหางไหม้ชนิด (Plā c̄hlām h̄āng h̄ịm̂ chnid)
Main Identification Features: Silver body with black margins on dorsal, caudal, anal, and pelvic fins.
Size: Maximum standard length can reach to 40 cm, commonly to 35 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Occurs in slow running waters area in large and medium-sized rivers and lakes. A midwater schooling species in its natural habitat. Feeds on small crustaceans, rotifers, insects and larvae. Overexploited for the past few decades due to its popularity as an aquarium fish. Reported extinct in many of its endemic areas.
Remarks: Endangered (1996 IUCN Red List)






Scientific Name: Barbonymus gonionotus  (Bleeker, 1849)
English Name: Java Barb, Silver Barb
Chinese Name | 鱼类中文名: 蓝邦 (Lán bāng)
Local Malay Name: Lampan Jawa
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาตะเพียนขาว (Plā tapheīyn k̄hāw)
Main Identification Features: Body compressed and almost diamond shape. Barbels very minute or rudimentary. Body plain silver without red coloration on body or fins. Caudal and dorsal fins plain grey.
Size: Maximum total length about 40 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Native to the Mekong river in Cambodia, and in Indonesia (Sumatera and Jawa). An introduced species in Peninsular Malaysia for aquaculture purposes. Currently widespread throughout southeast Asia, found in rivers and storm drains. Occurs at mid-water to bottom depths in rivers, streams, floodplains, and occasionally reservoirs. Seems to prefer standing water habitats instead of flowing waters. Potamodromous, migrates from river up into small streams and canals and onto flooded areas during the rainy season. Feeds on plant matter and invertebrates.






Scientific Name: Barbonymus schwanefeldii  (Bleeker, 1854)
Synonym: Barbonymus schwanenfeldii  (Bleeker, 1854)
English Name: Tinfoil Barb, Goldfoil Barb
Chinese Name | 鱼类中文名: 河蓝邦 (Hé lán bāng)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Kepiat, Lampan Sungai
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลากระแห (Plā kra h̄æ)
Main Identification Features: Body compressed and almost diamond shape. Dorsal fin reddish, with black blotch tip. Caudal fin reddish, with white margin and black submarginal stripe lobes.
Size: Maximum total length about 40 cm, commonly 24 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Inhabits slow water lakes and rivers. Feeds on aquatic macrophytes, submerged land plants, filamentous algae, small fishes, worms, crustaceans and insects.









Scientific Name: Cyclocheilichthys apogon  (Valenciennes, 1842)
English Name: Beardless Barb, Redeye Barb
Local Malay Name: Temperas, Chemperas, Emperas, Keperas, Mata Merah
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาตาแดง (Plā tā dæng)
Main Identification Features: Mouth terminal, no barbel. About 10 conspicuous longitudinal spotted stripes along body formed by black spot on each scale. Iris red blood in colour and fins pale reddish in live specimen. Caudal peduncle ocellated. Caudal fin forked.
Size: Maximum total length 25 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Usually found schooling in slow moving or stagnant water in rivers, lakes, canals, ditches, swamps and rice fields. Feed on fishes, insects, and crustaceans.






Scientific Name: Cyclocheilichthys heteronema  (Bleeker, 1854)
English Name: Carp, Barb
Local Malay Name: Temperas, Chemperas, Emperas, Keperas
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลากะทิ (Plā kathi)
Main Identification Features: Body deep and compressed. Body colour plain and fin transparent. Origin of pelvic fin slightly in advance of dorsal fin origin. Fourth dorsal spines is bony and strongly denticulated. A pair of multifid maxillary barbels, each with small branches.
Size: Maximum total length 15 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Occurs in rivers, streams, and floodplains. Migrates from river up into small streams and canals and onto flooded areas during the rainy season.








Scientific Name: Hampala macrolepidota  Kuhl & Van Hasselt, 1823
English Name: Hampala Barb
Chinese Name | 鱼类中文名: 水马溜鱼 (Shuǐ mǎ liū yú), 大鱗裂峽魮 (Dà lín liè xiá pí)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Sebarau
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลากระสูบขีด (Plā kra s̄ūb k̄hīd)
Main Identification Features: Mouth terminal. One pair of barbels. A blackish band across the body from anterior base of dorsal fin. Caudal fin forked, lobe with black band.
Size: Maximum standard length to 70 cm, commonly to 35 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Occurs in clear fast-moving rivers and sandy to muddy bottoms. Active and fast swimming schooling species. Moves seasonally to floodplains in the wet season. Spawns in and around floodplains. Feeds on smaller fishes, insects and aquatic invertebrates.








Scientific Name: Leptobarbus hoevenii  (Bleeker, 1851)
English Name: Hoven's Carp, Mad Barb, Red Finned Cigar Shark, Sultan Fish, Golden Shark
Chinese Name | 鱼类中文名: 细鲃 (Xì bā), 白苏丹 (Bái sūdān), 苏丹鱼 (Sūdān yú)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Jelawat
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาบ้า (Plā b̂ā), ปลาโพง (Plā phong), ปลาสุลต่าน (Plā s̄ult̀ān)
Main Identification Features: Head straight to slightly concave profile. Mouth terminal. Two pairs of barbels. A black blotch behind opercle. Caudal fin forked. Without a broad midlateral stripe covering most of the scale row above the lateral line scales.
Size: Maximum standard length to 110 cm, commonly to 60 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: A pelagic species primarily inhabiting clear running rivers and larger streams. Intolerant to low dissolved oxygen level. Feeds on plant matter, zooplankton, and both aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.






Scientific Name: Osteochilus vittatus  (Valenciennes, 1842)
Synonym: Osteochilus hasseltii  (Valenciennes, 1842)
English Name: Hard-lipped Barb, Bonylip Barb, Silver Sharkminnow
Local Malay Name: Ikan Terbol, Terbul, Puyou
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาสร้อยนกเขา (Plā s̄r̂xy nk k̄heā)
Main Identification Features: Snout bluntly rounded. Mouth terminal. Mid-upper lip covered by a fold of skin. Eyes small and closer to snout than to operculum. Some orange or red scale bases present. Dorsal fin long with 12-18 branched dorsal rays. Ventral fins slightly longer than pectoral fins. A large blotch on the caudal peduncle.
Size: Maximum standard length 32 cm, commonly about 20 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Inhabits turbid streams, rivers and wetlands. Good tolerance to low dissolved oxygen level. Moves seasonally to floodplains in the wet season and returns to river habitats once the season ended. Feeds on plant matter, algae and crustaceans.






Scientific Name: Probarbus jullieni  Sauvage, 1880
English Name: Isok Barb, Jullien's Golden Carp, Seven-line Barb
Local Malay Name: Ikan Temoleh, Temelian
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลายี่สก (Plā yī̀s̄k), ปลาเอินตาแดง (Plā ein tādæng)
Main Identification Features: Body golden or bright yellow with 5-7 longitudinal black stripes. Eye iris is red. Free posterior margin of both sides of lower lip narrowly interrupted.
Size: Maximum total length 200 cm, commonly about 28 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Inhabits mainly large, deep and clear rivers with sand or gravel substrates. Moves seasonally to floodplains to spawn in the wet season. Omnivorous, feeds on mollusc, zooplankton, aquatic plans, fruits, invertebrates, shrimp, and crabs.
Remarks: Critically Endangered (2019 IUCN Red List)






Scientific Name: Tor tambra  (Valenciennes, 1842)
English Name: River Carp, Malayan Mahseer
Local Malay Name: Ikan Kelah, Semah, Punguk
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาเวียน (Plā weīyn)
Main Identification Features: Median lobe on lower lip very short. Origin of dorsal opposite to 7th scale of lateral line and slightly before that of ventral fin. Anal fin tip pointed. Scales in lateral series 21-24. Juveniles silvery, pelvic fins yellow with white lateral margin. Adults without lateral stripe, predominantly yellowish-green in colour.
Size: Maximum total length 100 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Inhabits deep pools in crystal clear water rivers with moderate to swift flow. Omnivorous, in western Aceh region the species feeds mainly on green algae and earthworms.





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