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Puntius chola.jpg
Puntius chola
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Subfamily: Barbinae
Genus: Puntius
F. Hamilton, 1822
Type species
Cyprinus sophore
F. Hamilton, 1822

Puntius is a genus of small freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae native to South Asia and Mainland Southeast Asia, as well as Taiwan.[1]

Many species formerly placed in Puntius have been moved to other genera such as Barbodes, Dawkinsia, Desmopuntius, Haludaria, Oliotius, Pethia, Puntigrus, Sahyadria and Systomus.[2][3][4]


The name Puntius comes from pungti, a Bengali term for small cyprinids.


Fishes of the genus Puntius are found in South Asia (west to Pakistan and south to Sri Lanka) and Mainland Southeast Asia, with a single species, P. snyderi, in Taiwan.[1][2] The greatest species richness is in India.[1]


Cherry barb (Puntius titteya), male below and female above

The maximum size for an adult of this genus is 25 cm (10 in), but most species reach 7–15 cm (2.8–5.9 in) and some species do not surpass 5 cm (2 in).[1] In appearance they may resemble miniature carp and are sometimes brightly coloured or patterned.[1]


These fishes are omnivorous; their diet includes small invertebrates and plant matter. Breeding is by egg scattering and takes place close to the bottom, near or within areas of dense plant growth. They do not show parental care and adults may eat the young.


Historically, many species of Puntius have been classified in several genera, including Barbus. Despite the reclassifications, the specific epithet remains the same in these – except in cases of homonymies – as Barbus and Puntius have the same grammatical gender. The closest living relatives of the spotted barbs are the genus Cyprinion and perhaps the genus Capoeta. These and the other "typical" barbs and barbels were formerly often separated as subfamily Barbinae, but this group is highly paraphyletic with regard to the Cyprininae and better merged there at least for the largest part (including Puntius). In particular the genus Barbonymus, containing the tinfoil barb and its relatives – for some time included in Puntius – appears to be a kind of carp that has evolved convergently with barbs.


There are currently 49 recognized species in this genus:


  1. ^ a b c d e Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2016). Species of Puntius in FishBase. June 2016 version.
  2. ^ a b Kottelat, M. (2013): The fishes of the inland waters of southeast Asia: A catalogue and core bibliography of the fishes known to occur in freshwaters, mangroves and estuaries. Archived 2015-01-06 at the Wayback Machine. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Suppl. No. 27: 1–663.
  3. ^ Pethiyagoda, R., Meegaskumbura, M. & Maduwage, K. (2012): A synopsis of the South Asian fishes referred to Puntius (Pisces: Cyprinidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 23 (1): 69–95.
  4. ^ Raghavan, R., Philip, S., Ali, A. & Dahanukar, N. (2013): Sahyadria, a new genus of barbs (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) from Western Ghats of India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 5 (15): 4932–4938.
  5. ^ Plamoottil, Mathews (2015). "Puntius dolichopterus, a new fish species (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae) from Kerala, India" (PDF). International Journal of Pure and Applied Zoology. Rishan Publications. 3 (3): 226–231. ISSN 2320-9585. Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  6. ^ Krishna Kumar, K., Benno Pereira, F.G. & Radhakrishnan, K.V. (2012): Puntius madhusoodani (Teleostei: Cyprinidae), a new species of barb from Manimala River, Kerala, South India. Biosystematica, 5 (2): 31-37.
  7. ^ Plamoottil, M. (2014): Puntius nelsoni, Systomus chryseus and S. rufus (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae), three new fish species from Kerala, India. International Journal of Fauna and Biological Studies, 1 (6): 135–145.
  8. ^ Plamoottil, M. (2014): Puntius nigronotus, a new fish species (Cypriniformes; Cyprinidae) from Kerala, India. Journal of Research in Biology, 4 (8): 1581–1588.
  9. ^ Plamoottil, M. & Abraham, N.P. (2014): Puntius viridis (Cypriniformes, Cyprinidae), a new fish species from Kerala, India. Journal of Research in Biology, 3 (7): 1093–1104.