Derived from the Latin “barba”, barbel, meaning “beard”, is a reference to the two pairs of barbs — a longer pair pointing forwards and slightly down positioned — on both sides of the mouth. They are of the carp family, but the name can also reference catfish. Barbels typically breed in late spring, often migrating upstream before spawning, and feed all year round, but much more vigorously in the summer and autumn.
Predominantly a river dwelling fish, they are usually found in gravel and rocky-bottomed slow-flowing waters with high dissolved oxygen content.
Found in Western and Eastern Europe, the Crimea, Russia, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.