Barbels are group of small carp-like freshwater fish, almost all of the genus Barbus. They are usually found in gravel and rocky-bottomed slow-flowing waters with high dissolved oxygen content. A typical adult barbel will range from 25 to 100 cm in length and weigh anywhere between 200 g and 10 kg.
Barbus barbus, the barbel native to Britain is known simply as the barbel and is a popular sport fish. Subspecies of B. barbus are recognised; namely B. barbus bocagei, B. barbus sclateri, B. barbus thessalus and B. barbus plebejus.The Mediterranean barbel Barbus meridionalis is actually found in Spain, France, Poland, Romania, and the Ukraine. It is a much smaller fish than B. barbus. Other barbel in Europe include Barbus sclateri - sometimes known as the European barbel; the Italian barbel Barbus tyberinus; the Albanian barbel Barbus albanicus.