barbel, also known as bearded (Bearded bearded) is a kind of fish de sweet water belonging to the carp family. They are easily recognizable by the large barbels on either side of their large carp mouths. They can be found throughout Europe and Asia, and are a very popular part of sport fishing. Anglers enjoy catching them because of their incredible strength and power.

The little cherry barbel

Species

barbel (Bearded bearded) of the rivers of central and western Europe is a thin and rather elongated fish, with a full-lipped, crescent-shaped mouth and four barbels, which it uses to search for fish, mollusks and other food along the river bottom. The barbel is greenish and usually reaches a length and weight of about 75 cm and almost 3 kg. It is a good sport fish.

There are many African and Asian members of the genus Barbus, and those of the East Indies region are sometimes placed in a separate genus, Puntius. Some of these African and Asian species, such as the mahseer, are prized as food or game fish, while several of the smaller species are popular barbs in home aquariums. Below are some well-known picks to aquarists:

  • Cherry beard (Barbus titteya), 3 centimeters long; male silver to cherry red, female silver to pink; both sexes with a broad band of gold and black on each side.
  • Clown beard (Bearded everetti), large, up to 13 cm; pink with red fins and several large dark spots on each side.
  • Pink beard (Barbus conchonius), 5-6 cm in aquariums, larger; silvery pink color with dark spot near tail; male deep pink with black-edged dorsal fin.
  • B. Sumatra is tiger (Barbus tetrazona), about 5 cm long; silvery orange with four black vertical stripes on each side.
  • B. Tic-Toc (Bearded ticto), 5-16 cm long; silvery with black spot near head and tail (which gives it its name); Dorsal fin of male reddish with black spots; without chins.

Features

The barbel can grow quite large depending on its diet and habitat. They can weigh more than 9,5 kg and measure more than 1,2 meters long. However, on average barbels grow around 2.7 kg in weight, and around 0.6 meters long.

Its elongated body points to a life in fast-flowing rivers, and for the most part this is true of the barbel. It is generally found in the middle reaches of rivers where there is some flow. Although it is not possible to discover the sex of the barbel by its external characteristics, the female barbel grows much larger than the males. It is rare to find a male barbel that weighs more than 2.7 kg.

The mouth of the barbel is highly pendant and has protruding lips and four large barbels. The entire design of the barbel's mouth is adapted to feed on invertebrates collected from the river bed, or unearthed from among stones. The barbel is a very strong fish and often burrows large amounts of gravel when feeding.

Barbels have strong pharyngeal teeth (throat teeth) that they use to crush mussels, snail shells y River Crabs. It breeds in early spring, and the eggs are poured on weeds growing in shallow gravel areas. The yellowish and translucent eggs hatch in 12-14 days. The newly hatched fish are called frys and they hide in rocks and undergrowth, initially feeding on small insects and algae.

Habitat

Most barbels live in fast-flowing rivers, which is one reason they are so powerful. They are also stored in some lakes, although this is normally frowned upon, as barbels need a fast-flowing stream to grow and mature properly. Their natural habitats contain a lot of oxygen and varied terrain, such as deep rock holes and gravel beds.

Distribution

Naturally only found in rivers eastern England, which it entered during the last ice age. At that time, the rivers of eastern England flowed directly into the River Rhine, thus being connected to mainland Europe. Barbel has been stored in a large number of rivers in the last fifty years. Very common throughout Europe, where several related species can also be found.

Food

Barbels generally feed on the bottom of rivers in deep areas with a gravel or rocky bottom. The barbel diet is mainly based on organisms like larvae of insects y crustaceansAlthough they will feed on a variety of other food sources if discovered. Barbels are also very good at finding food due to their large beards, which they use to search for their next meal.

Predators

The barbel is not exempt from having many predators, although they are difficult prey they have several natural predators that make them vulnerable. Bigger tents, birds and gauze o harriers They also hunt them and above all, their main predator, the human, who fishes them as recreation.

Reproduction

Barbels spawn between May and July, although unlike many large fish species, in exceptional years can spawn more than once. These fish require clean gravel with a good flow of water to lay their eggs. The female slaps the gravel with her tail, digging a shallow scrape in the process and also cleaning the gravel of silt. A group of males approach the female and they spawn together. The female covers the eggs with a shallow layer of gravel. Young barbels hatch within a week, but unlike other chunky fish, the young remain in the gravel for several weeks, surviving first from their large yolk sac and then actively hunting small invertebrates in the spaces between the gravel.

Growth

Despite its large size, the barbel is a slow-growing species, often taking five years to reach adult size. Barbel specimens of ten pounds or more are likely to be twenty years old. Although we do not know the maximum longevity of barbels, some believe that they can live at least thirty years. But the average is between 3 and 7 years of useful life on freedom.

State of conservation

According to the IUCN red list, it is classified as Least Concern (LC). They do not have problems in the natural habitat and in captivity they breed them for hunting.

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