C. Barbus, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 525. Block, Ichth. pl. 18. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. is. pl. 29. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 107. Barbus vulgaris, Flem. Brit. An. p. 185. Barbel, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 259. tab. Q. 2. f. 1. Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 357. pi. 71. Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 472. pl. 82. Bowd. Brit. Jr. wat. Fish. Draw. no. 9. Yarr. Brit. Fish. vol. i. p. 321. Barbeau commun, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 272.
From two to three feet.
(Form). Rather elongated; the back but little elevated: dorsal line continuous with the profile, and falling in one gradual slope to quite the end of the snout: greatest depth beneath the commencement of the dorsal, equalling between one-fifth and one-sixth of the entire length: head one-fifth of the same; of a somewhat oblong form: snout rather pointed, and advancing considerably beyond the lower jaw: upper lip fleshy, furnished with four barbules; two at the corners of the mouth, and two shorter ones in front of the nose: eyes small; nostrils placed near them: lateral line nearly straight; its course along the middle: head smooth; scales on the body rather small, firmly attached to the skin, finely striated, with their free edges slightly scolloped: dorsal short, commencing at about the middle point between the end of the snout and the base of the caudal; first ray very short, second half the length of the third; this last strong and bony, with sharp serratures at the edges; succeeding rays all soft and branched, and gradually decreasing to the last, which is only half the length of the third: anal also short, commencing in a line with the tip of the dorsal when laid back; third ray longest; all the rays soft, and, except the first two, branched: caudal forked for more than half its length: pectorals shorter than the head: ventrals attached beneath the middle of the dorsal, a little shorter than the pectorals; in the axilla of each a long narrow pointed scale:
B. 3; D. 3/9; A. 8; C. 20; P. 16; V. 9.
(Colours). Back and sides olivaceous brown, with more or less of a golden-yellow lustre; belly white: irides golden-yellow: dorsal brown, tinged with red; anal and ventrals reddish yellow; caudal deep purplish red; pectorals pale brown.
Common in rapid streams and rivers, especially those with a hard gravelly bottom. Lives in society. Conceals itself during the day in hollows and amongst large stones: roves about at night in quest of food. At the approach of Winter retires down the river to deep water. Food aquatic mollusca, worms, and small fish. Spawns in May and June; but, according to Bloch, is not capable of breeding till towards the fourth or fifth year. Grows quickly, and attains a large size: has been known to weigh as much as eighteen pounds.
(3. Gobio, Cuv).