Barbel (anatomy)

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For the fishes, see Barbel (fish species).
Koi carp have two pairs of barbels, the second pair being quite small.
This Asian arowana has large, protruding barbels

A barbel on a fish is a slender, whiskerlike sensory organ near the mouth. Fish that have barbels include the catfish, the carp, the goatfish, hagfish, sturgeon, the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and some species of shark such as the sawshark. Barbels house the taste buds of such fish and are used to search for food in murky water.

Barbels are often erroneously referred to as barbs, which are found in bird feathers for flight.

Barbels may be located in a variety of locations on the head of a fish. "Maxillary barbels" refers to barbels on either side of the mouth. Barbels may also be nasal, extending from the nostrils. Also, barbels are often mandibular or mental, being located on the chin.


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