Fine Art

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Osteichthyes
Classis: Actinopterygii
Subclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Superordo: Ostariophysi
Ordo: Cypriniformes
Subordo: Cyprinoidea
Familia: Cyprinidae
Subfamiliae: Acheilognathinae - Barbinae - Cultrinae - Cyprininae - Danioninae - Garrinae - Gobioninae - Hypophthalmichthyinae - Labeoninae - Leuciscinae - Rasborinae - Schizothoracinae - Trigonostigma - Xenocypridinae - Unassigned


* Cyprinidae Report on ITIS

Vernacular names
Česky: kaprovití
Deutsch: Karpfenfische
日本語: コイ科
Русский: Карповые
Türkçe: Sazangiller


The family Cyprinidae, from the Ancient Greek kyprînos (κυπρῖνος, "carp"), consists of the carps, the true minnows, and their relatives (e.g. the barbs and barbels). Commonly called the carp family or the minnow family, its members are also known as cyprinids. It is the largest family of fresh-water fish, with over 2,400 species in about 220 genera. The family belongs to the order Cypriniformes, of whose genera and species the cyprinids make up two-thirds.[1]

Following the discovery that the relatively unknown mountain carps are a peculiar lineage of cyprinids, they have been included tentatively as subfamily Psilorhynchinae.[2]

Giant Barbs (Catlocarpio siamensis) are the largest members of this family

Cyprinids are stomachless fish and the jaws are toothless. Food can be effectively chewed by the gill rakers of the specialized last gill bow. These pharyngeal teeth allow the fish to make chewing motions against a chewing plate formed by a procession of the skull. The pharyngheal teeth are species specific and are used by specialists to determine the species. Strong pharyncheal teeth allow fish like the common carp and ide to eat hard baits like snails and bivalves.

Hearing is a well developed sense since the cyprinds have the Weberian organ, three specialized vertebra processions that transfer motion of the gas bladder to the inner ear. This construction is also used to observe motion of the gas bladder due to atmospheric conditions or depth changes. The cyprinids are physostomes because the pneumatic duct is retained in adult stages and the fish are able to gulp air to fill the gas bladder or they can dispose excess gas to the gut.

The fish in this family are native to North America, Africa, and Eurasia. The largest cyprinid in this family is the Giant Barb (Catlocarpio siamensis), which may grow up to 3 metres (9.8 ft). The largest North American species is the Colorado Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius), of which individuals up to 6 feet (1.8 m) long and weighing over 100 pounds (45 kg) have been recorded.

On the other hand, many species are smaller than 5 centimetres (2.0 in). As of 2008, the smallest known freshwater fish is a cypriniform, Danionella translucida, reaching 12 millimetres (0.47 in) at the longest.[3] All fish in this family are egg-layers and most do not guard their eggs, however, there are a few species that build nests and/or guard the eggs. The bitterling-like cyprinids (Acheilognathinae) are notable for depositing their eggs in bivalve molluscs, where the young grow up until able to fend for themselves.
Proud angler with 17 kg Mirror Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Most cyprinids feed mainly on invertebrates and vegetation probably due to the lack of teeth and stomach, but some species like the Asp specialize in fish. Many species ide, common rudd will eat small fish however when reaching a certain size. Even small species like the moderlieschen eat larvae of the common frog in artificial circumstances.

Some fishes, such as the grass carp, are specialized in eating vegetation, some, such as the common nase, eat algae from hard surfaces, some, such as the black carp, specialize in snails, and some, such as the silver carp, are specialized filter feeders. For this reason, they are often introduced as a management tool to control various factors in the aquatic environment, such as aquatic vegetation and diseases transmitted by snails.

Relationship with humans

Cyprinids are highly important food fish; they are fished and farmed across Eurasia. In land-locked countries in particular, cyprinids are often the major species of fish eaten because they make the largest part of biomass in most water types except for fast flowing rivers. In non-landlocked countries they are not very much appreciated due to the high number of bones. In Eastern Europe they are often prepared with traditional methods like drying and salting. The prevalence of inexpensive frozen fish products made this less important now than it was in earlier times. Nonetheless, in certain places they remain popular for food as well as recreational fishing, and have been deliberately stocked in ponds and lakes for centuries for this reason.[4]

Cyprinids are popular for angling especially for match fishing (due to their dominance in biomass and numbers) and fishing for common carp because of its size and strength.

Several cyprinids have been introduced to waters outside their natural range to provide food, sport, or biological control for some pest species. The Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) and the Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) are the most important of these, for example in Florida. In some cases, these have become invasive species that compete with native fishes or disrupt the environment. Carp in particular can stir up sediment, reducing the clarity of the water and making it difficult for plants to grow.[5]
One of the more unusual goldfish breeds: A variegated pearlscale with an oranda-type wen ("cap").

Numerous cyprinids have become important in the aquarium hobby, most famously the Goldfish, which was bred in China from the Prussian Carp (Carassius (auratus) gibelio). First imported into Europe around 1728, it was much fancied by Chinese nobility as early as 1150 AD and after it arrived there in 1502, also in Japan. In the latter country, from the 18th century onwards the Common Carp was bred into the ornamental variety known as koi – or more accurately nishikigoi (錦鯉), as koi (鯉) simply means "Common Carp" in Japanese.

Other popular aquarium cyprinids include danionins, rasborines and true barbs.[6] Larger species are bred by the thousands in outdoor ponds, particularly in Southeast Asia, and trade in these aquarium fishes is of considerable commercial importance. The small rasborines and danionines are perhaps only rivalled by characids and poecilid livebearers in their popularity for community aquaria.

One particular species of these small and undemanding danionines is the Zebrafish (Danio rerio). It has become the standard model species for studying developmental genetics of vertebrates, in particular fish.[7]

Habitat destruction and other causes have reduced the wild stocks of several cyprinids to dangerously low levels; some are already entirely extinct. In particular, Leuciscinae from southwestern North America have been hit hard by pollution and unsustainable water use in the early-mid 20th century; most globally extinct Cypriniformes species are in fact Leuciscinae from the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.


The massive diversity of cyprinids has so far made it difficult to resolve their phylogeny in sufficient detail to make assignment to subfamilies more than tentative in many cases. It is obvious that some distinct lineages exist – for example, Cultrinae and Leuciscinae, regardless of their exact delimitation, are rather close relatives and stand apart from Cyprininae –, but the overall systematics and taxonomy of the Cyprinidae remain a subject of considerable debate. A large number of genera are incertae sedis, too equivocal in their traits and/or too little-studied to permit assignment to a particular subfamily with any certainty.[8]

Part of the solution seems that the delicate rasborines are the core group, consisting of minor lineages that have not shifted far from their evolutionary niche, or have co-evolved, for millions of years. These are among the most basal lineages of living cyprinids. Other "rasborines" are apparently distributed across the diverse lineages of the family.[9]

The validity and circumscription of proposed subfamilies like Labeoninae or Squaliobarbinae also remains doubtful, although the latter do appear to correspond to a distinct lineage. The sometimes-seen grouping of the large-headed carps (Hypophthalmichthyinae) with Xenocypris, on the other hand, seems quite in error. More likely, the latter are part of the Cultrinae.[9]
Itasenpara Bitterling (Acheilognathus longipinnis: Acheilognathinae)
Blue Danio (Danio kerri: Danioninae)
Pseudogobio esocinus (Gobioninae)
Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix: Hypophthalmichthyinae)
Rohu (Labeo rohita) of the disputed Labeoninae)

The entirely paraphyletic "Barbinae" and the disputed Labeoninae might be better treated as part of the Cyprininae, forming a close-knit group whose internal relationships are still little known. The small African "barbs" do not belong in Barbus sensu stricto – indeed, they are as distant from the typical barbels and the typical carps (Cyprinus) as these are from Garra (which is placed in the Labeoninae by most who accept the latter as distinct) and thus might form another as of yet unnamed subfamily. However, as noted above, how various minor lineages tie into this has not yet been resolved; therefore such a radical move, though reasonable, is probably premature.[10]

The Tench (Tinca tinca), a significant food species farmed in western Eurasia in large numbers, is unusual. It is most often grouped with the Leuciscinae, but even when these were rather loosely circumscribed, it always stood apart. A cladistic analysis of DNA sequence data of the S7 ribosomal protein intron 1 supports the view that it is distinct enough to constitute a monotypic subfamily. It also suggests that it may be closer to the small East Asian Aphyocypris, Hemigrammocypris, and Yaoshanicus. They would have diverged roughly at the same time from cyprinids of east-central Asia, perhaps as a result of the Alpide orogeny that vastly changed the topography of that region in the late Paleogene, when their divergence presumably occurred.[2]

Subfamily Acheilognathinae – bitterling-like cyprinids (4 genera)
Subfamily Cultrinae

* Chanodichthys
* Culter
* Erythroculter
* Hemiculter
* Ischikauia
* Megalobrama
* Parabramis – White Amur Bream
* Sinibrama

Subfamily Cyprininae – true carps, barbs and barbels (includes Barbinae and Schizothoracinae, might include Labeoninae)

* Aulopyge – Dalmatian Barbelgudgeon
* Barbichthys
* Barbodes
* Barboides
* Barbonymus – tinfoils
* Barbus – typical barbels (and barbs, paraphyletic)
* Capoeta
* Carasobarbus
* Carassius – Crucian carps
* Cirrhinus – mud carps
* Clypeobarbus
* Cyclocheilichthys
* Cyprinion
* Cyprinus – typical carps
* Diptychus – "snowtrouts"
* Hemigrammocapoeta
* Hypselobarbus
* Hypsibarbus
* Kosswigobarbus
* Labeobarbus – yellowfish
* Leptobarbus
* Luciobarbus
* Messinobarbus
* Osteobrama
* Poropuntius
* Pseudobarbus – redfins
* Probarbus
* Puntioplites
* Puntius – spotted barbs
* Salmophasia
* Sawbwa – Sawbwa Barb
* Schizopyge – "snowtrouts"
* Schizopygopsis – "snowtrouts"
* Schizothorax – marinkas, "snowtrouts"
* Sinocyclocheilus

Subfamily Danioninae – danionins (some 10 genera)
Subfamily Gobioninae – true gudgeons and relatives (including Gobiobotinae)

* Abbottina
* Biwia
* Coreius
* Gnathopogon
* Gobio – typical gudgeons
* Gobiobotia
* Hemibarbus
* Microphysogobio
* Pseudogobio
* Pseudorasbora
* Pungtungia
* Rhinogobio
* Romanogobio
* Sarcocheilichthys
* Saurogobio
* Squalidus
* Xenophysogobio

Subfamily Hypophthalmichthyinae – large-headed carps

* Aristichthys
* Hypophthalmichthys – bighead carps

Subfamily Labeoninae (including Garrinae; might belong in Cyprininae)
Flame Chub (Hemitremia flammea), one of the chubs in the Leuciscinae)
Ide (Leuciscus idus), one of the Eurasian daces
Sailfin Shiner (Notropis hypselopterus), a small and colorful shiner of the Leuciscinae)
Chinese Minnow (Phoxinus oxycephalus), a minnow related to some North American daces
Rutilus rubilio a European roach

Subfamily Leuciscinae – chubs, daces, true minnows, roaches, shiners etc.

* Aaptosyax
* Abramis – typical breams (including Ballerus)
* Achondrostoma Robalo, Almada, Levy & Doadrio, 2007 (disputed)
* Acrocheilus – Chiselmouth
* Agosia
* Alburnoides
* Alburnus – bleaks
* Algansea
* Anaecypris
* Aspius
* Aztecula
* Blicca
* Campostoma – stonerollers
* Chalcalburnus
* Chondrostoma – typical nases
* Clinostomus – redside daces
* Coreoleuciscus – Korean Splendid Dace
* Couesius – Lake Chub
* Cyprinella – satinfin shiners
* Dionda – desert minnows
* Distoechodon
* Elopichthys (tentatively placed here)
* Eremichthys – Desert Dace
* Ericymba – silverjaw minnows
* Erimonax
* Erimystax – slender chubs
* Eupallasella
* Evarra – Mexican daces
* Exoglossum – cutlips minnows
* Gila – western chubs (including Siphateles)
* Hemitremia – Flame Chub
* Hesperoleucus – California Roach (may belong in Lavinia)
* Hybognathus – silvery minnows
* Hybopsis – bigeye chubs
* Iberochondrostoma Robalo, Almada, Levy & Doadrio, 2007
* Iotichthys – Least Chub
* Ladigesocypris
* Lavinia – Hitch
* Lepidomeda – spinedaces
* Leucaspius – Moderlieschen
* Leuciscus – Eurasian daces
* Luciobrama (tentatively placed here)
* Luciocyprinus
* Luxilus – highscale shiners
* Lythrurus – finescale shiners
* Macrhybopsis – blacktail chubs
* Margariscus – Pearl Dace
* Meda – Spikedace
* Moapa – Moapa Dace
* Mylocheilus – peamouths
* Mylopharodon – hardheads
* Nocomis – hornyhead chubs
* Notemigonus – Golden Shiner
* Notropis – eastern shiners
* Ochetobius (tentatively placed here)
* Opsopoeodus – pugnose minnows
* Oregonichthys – Oregon chubs
* Oreoleuciscus
* Orthodon – Sacramento Blackfish
* Parachondrostoma Robalo, Almada, Levy & Doadrio, 2007
* Pararhinichthys – Cheat Minnow
* Pelecus – Ziege, Sabre Carp
* Petroleuciscus – Ponto-Caspian chubs and daces
* Phenacobius – suckermouth minnows
* Phoxinellus
* Phoxinus – Eurasian minnows and redbelly daces (including Rhynchocypris)
* Pimephales – bluntnose minnows
* Plagopterus – Woundfin
* Platygobio – flathead chubs
* Pogonichthys – splittails
* Protochondrostoma Robalo, Almada, Levy & Doadrio, 2007
* Pseudochondrostoma Robalo, Almada, Levy & Doadrio, 2007
* Pseudophoxinus
* Pteronotropis – flagfin shiners
* Ptychocheilus – pikeminnows
* Relictus – Relict Dace
* Rhinichthys – riffle daces (including Tiaroga)
* Richardsonius – redside shiners
* Rutilus – roaches
* Scardinius – rudds
* Semotilus – creek chubs
* Snyderichthys – Leatherside Chub
* Squalius – European chubs
* Telestes
* Tribolodon
* Tropidophoxinellus
* Vimba
* Yuriria

Trigonostigma somphongsi ("Rasborinae", probably not too distant from the Blue Danio above)
Black Carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus: Squaliobarbinae)

Subfamily Psilorhynchinae – mountain carps

* Psilorhynchus (including Psilorhynchoides)

Subfamily Rasborinae – rasborines (probably paraphyletic)

* Amblypharyngodon
* Aphyocypris
* Barilius
* Boraras
* Candidia – Lake Candidus Dace
* Nipponocypris Chen, Wu & Hsu (2008)
* Opsariichthys
* Oxygaster
* Parazacco
* Raiamas
* Rasbora
* Rasborinus
* Rastrineobola – Silver Cyprinid
* Tanichthys – cardinal minnows
* Trigonostigma
* Zacco

Subfamily Squaliobarbinae (sometimes included in Cyprininae or Leuciscinae)

* Ctenopharyngodon – Grass Carp
* Mylopharyngodon – Black Carp
* Squaliobarbus

Subfamily Tincinae – Tench (monotypic, sometimes included in Leuciscinae)

Incertae sedis
Hemigrammocypris rasborella is of uncertain relationships.
It might be close to Aphyocypris.

Mahseers are peculiar cyprinids in the genera Naziritor, Neolissochilus and Tor, sometimes united in the last.

* Acanthalburnus
* Acanthobrama
* Acrossocheilus
* Amblyrhynchichthys
* Araiocypris
* Caecobarbus
* Catlocarpio
* Chagunius
* Coptostomabarbus[verification needed]
* Cyclocheilichthys
* Cyprinion
* Folifer
* Gibelion – Catla
* Gobiocypris
* Gymnocypris
* Gymnodiptychus Herzenstein, 1892
* Hampala
* Hemigrammocypris (close to Aphyocypris?)
* Iberocypris
* Mystacoleucus
* Oreichthys
* Oreinus
* Naziritor – "mahseers" (sometimes in Tor)
* Neolissochilus – "mahseers" (sometimes in Tor)
* Pachychilon
* Paracheilognathus
* Parasikukia
* Phreatichthys
* Poropuntius
* Pseudobrama
* Pseudolaubuca
* Rohtee
* Semiplotus
* Sikukia
* Spinibarbichthys
* Spinibarbus
* Thynnichthys
* Tor – "mahseers"
* Varicorhinus
* Xenocyprioides
* Xenocypris (Cultrinae?)
* Yaoshanicus (close to Aphyocypris?)

Unlike most fish species, cyprinid fish generally increase in abundance in eutrophic lakes. Here, they contribute towards positive feedback as they are efficient at eating zooplankton which would otherwise graze on the algae, reducing its abundance.


1. ^ FishBase (2004), Nelson (2006), [2009]
2. ^ a b He et al. (2008b)
3. ^ Nelson (2006)
4. ^ Magri MacMahon (1946): pp.149-152
5. ^ GSMFC (2005), FFWCC [2008]
6. ^ Riehl & Baensch (1996): p.410
7. ^ Helfman et al. (1997): p.228
8. ^ de Graaf et al. (2007), He et al. (2008a,b)
9. ^ a b He et al. (2008a)
10. ^ Howes (1991), de Graaf et al. (2007), IUCN (2009)


* De Graaf, M.; Megens, H. J.; Samallo, J.; Sibbing, F. A. (2007). "Evolutionary origin of Lake Tana's (Ethiopia) small Barbus species: indications of rapid ecological divergence and speciation". Animal Biology 57: 39. doi:10.1163/157075607780002069. edit
* [2009]: Cyprinid. Retrieved 2009-SEP-25.
* FishBase (2004): Family Cyprinidae - Minnows or carps. Version of 2004-NOV-22. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
* Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) (2006): Florida's Exotic Freshwater Fishes. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
* Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC) (2005): Cyprinus carpio (Linnaeus, 1758). Version of 2005-08-03. Retrieved 2007-05-03.
* He, S.; Mayden, R.; Wang, X.; Wang, W.; Tang, K.; Chen, W.; Chen, Y. (2008). "Molecular phylogenetics of the family Cyprinidae (Actinopterygii: Cypriniformes) as evidenced by sequence variation in the first intron of S7 ribosomal protein-coding gene: Further evidence from a nuclear gene of the systematic chaos in the family". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 46 (3): 818. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.06.001. PMID 18203625. edit
* He, S.; Gu, X.; Mayden, R. L.; Chen, W. J.; Conway, K. W.; Chen, Y. (2008). "Phylogenetic position of the enigmatic genus Psilorhynchus (Ostariophysi: Cypriniformes): Evidence from the mitochondrial genome". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 47 (1): 419. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.10.012. PMID 18053751. edit
* Helfman, Gene (1997). The Diversity of Fishes. Oxford: Blackwell Science. ISBN 0865422567.
* Howes, G.J. (1991): Systematics and biogeography: an overview. In: Winfield, I.J. & Nelson, J.S. (eds.): Biology of Cyprinids: 1–33. Chapman and Hall Ltd., London.
* International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) (2009): 2009 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. Retrieved 2009-SEP-20.
* Magri MacMahon, A.F. (1946): Fishlore. Pelican Books.
* Nelson, Joseph (2006). Fishes of the World. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471250317.
* Riehl, Rudiger (1996). Aquarium Atlas. Voyageur Press (MN). ISBN 3882440503.

Fish Images

Biology Encyclopedia

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Home - Hellenica World