The barbel is a species of freshwater fish in the Cyprinidae family of minnows and carps.
The barbel is native throughout Europe and China.
The fish is ideally suited to fast flowing waters, adult size is up to 1.2 m (4 ft) in length and 12 kg (26 lb) in weight, although it is typically found smaller (50–100 cm length, weight 1–3 kg). It is slightly laterally compressed, lacks an adipose fin, has a dark brown or grey mottled appearance, the underside is light coloured, and the fins have a reddish tinge.
The barbel is benthopelagic, meaning they are found at the bottom of rivers as well as in open water. They are typically found feeding in deeper areas of rivers with a rocky or gravel bottom. Feeding is on benthic organisms, including crustaceans, insect larvae and mollusks.
Males become mature after three to four years, females after five to eight years, spawning occurs after upriver migration during May, June and July and 8,000 to 12,000 eggs are produced per kilogram of bodyweight. The eggs are poisonous.