The Barbel is a large European member of the carp family. The Barbel is a long, strong looking fish with a broad tail and large fins. The body of this fish is heart shaped in a cross sectin and the belly flattened. As the shape of the body shows this fish is a bottom living species, living for the most part on the bottoms of fast moving rivers. The Barbel feeds on small fish, worms, crustaceans, elvers, lampreys, insects and molluscs. The mouth of this fish has four large, long barbules and a down-turned gape. The Barbel uses it mouth like a siphon, the barbules being used to feel for food in the mud and silt.
The Barbel have strong pharynegeal teeth (throat teeth) which they use to crush mussels, snail shells and crayfish. The Barbel breed in the early spring, and the eggs being shed in the weeds that grow in the gravel shallows. The eggs which are yellowy, transluscent hatch in 12-14 days. The newly hatched fish are called frys and they hide in the stones and weed, feeding initially on tiny insects and algae.