Labeobarbus is a mid-sized ray-finned fish genus in the family Cyprinidae. Its species are widely distributed throughout eastern Africa and especially southern Africa, but also in Lake Tana in Ethiopia. A common name, in particular for the southern species, is yellowfish. The scientific name refers to the fact that these large barbs remind of the fairly closely related "carps" in the genus Labeo in size and shape. As far as can be told, all Labeobarbus species are hexaploid.[1]

Clanwilliam yellowfish (Labeobarbus seeberi)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Subfamily: Cyprininae
Genus: Labeobarbus
Rüppell, 1835
Type species
Labeobarbus nedgia
Rüppell, 1835
see text.


Like many other "barbs", it was long included in Barbus. It appears to be a fairly close relative of the typical barbels and relatives the genus Barbus proper , but closer still to the large Near Eastern species nowadays separated in Carasobarbus. Barbus has been split to account for the improved phylogenetic knowledge which indicated it was highly paraphyletic in its wide circumscription , it may be that Carasobarbus and some other closely related "barbs" (e.g. Labeobarbus reinii) are now included in Labeobarbus to avoid a profusion of very small genera.[2]

The taxonomy of many species in the "wastebin genus" Barbus has recently been re-evaluated. Though hybrid introgression may confound studies based in mtDNA data alone, a number of these species appear to be so closely related to Labeobarbus to warrant inclusion in the present genus outright, irrespective if Carasobarbus is considered distinct or not. These include L. ethiopicus.[2]


Labeobarbus at present contains the following species:


  1. de Graaf et al. (2007), IUCN (2009)
  2. de Graaf et al. (2007)


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