F. Hamilton, 1822
F. Hamilton, 1822
Puntius is a genus of cyprinid fishes known as the spotted barbs for the predominant pattern, though many have vertical black bands instead. This genus is native to South Asia and Mainland Southeast Asia, with a single species in Taiwan. Species found elsewhere (e.g., the Philippines) have been moved to other genera such as Barbodes.
The name Puntius comes from pungti, a Bengali term for small cyprinids.
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 Cyprinion barbs, the Assamese kingfish (Cyprinion semiplotum), and perhaps the Capoeta barbs. 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.
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. The greatest species richness is in India. The maximum size for an adult of this genus is less than 25 cm (9.8 in), typically 7–15 cm (2.8–5.9 in), and many species only achieve around 5 cm (2.0 in) adult length. In appearance they may resemble miniature carp and are often brightly coloured or patterned.
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.
In the aquarium
These small tropical barbs are commonly kept as inhabitants of a warm water aquarium, and many species are commercially available. Breeds with elongated fins or differing colors have been produced of some of the more extensively traded species. Puntius barbs are easy to feed, taking a wide variety of foods including dried food. Note that these inquisitive fish are active and unafraid, and many species have a reputation as "fin-nippers". These are unsuitable for aquaria with slow-moving, long-finned species.
Commonly kept Puntius species include:
- Cherry barb, Puntius titteya
- Greenstripe barb, Puntius vittatus
- Onespot barb, Puntius terio
- Pool barb, Puntius sophore
- Swamp barb, Puntius chola
- Puntius ambassis F. Day, 1869
- Puntius amphibius Valenciennes, 1842 (Scarlet-banded barb)
- Puntius aphya Günther, 1868 – validity questionable, appears to be a synonym of Leptobarbus hoevenii. 
- Puntius arenatus F. Day, 1878
- Puntius bantolanensis A. L. Day, 1914 – appears to belong in Barbodes instead. 
- Puntius bimaculatus Bleeker, 1863 (Redside barb)
- Puntius bramoides Valenciennes, 1842 – validity questionable, appears to be a synonym of Barbonymus balleroides.
- Puntius brevis Bleeker, 1850
- Puntius burmanicus F. Day, 1878
- Puntius cauveriensis Hora, 1937 (Cauvery barb)
- Puntius chelynoides McClelland, 1839 (Dark mahseer)
- Puntius chola F. Hamilton, 1822 (Swamp barb)
- Puntius crescentus Yazdani & D. F. Singh, 1994
- Puntius deccanensis Yazdani & Babu Rao, 1976 (Deccan barb)
- Puntius dorsalis Jerdon, 1849 (Long-snouted barb)
- Puntius fraseri Hora & Misra, 1938 (Dharna barb)
- Puntius guganio F. Hamilton, 1822 (Glass barb)
- Puntius kamalika Anjana Silva, Maduwage & Pethiyagoda, 2008
- Puntius kelumi Pethiyagoda, Anjana Silva, Maduwage & Meegaskumbura, 2008
- Puntius khohi Dobriyal, R. Singh, Uniyal, H. K. Joshi, Phurailatpam & Bisht, 2004
- Puntius layardi Günther, 1868
- Puntius madhusoodani Krishna Kumar, Benno Pereira & Radhakrishnan, 2012 
- Puntius mahecola Valenciennes, 1844 (Wynaad barb)
- Puntius masyai H. M. Smith, 1945
- Puntius melanostigma F. Day, 1878
- Puntius morehensis Arunkumar & Tombi Singh, 1998
- Puntius mudumalaiensis Menon & Rema Devi, 1992
- Puntius muzaffarpurensis Srivastava, Verma & Sharma, 1977
- Puntius nangalensis Jayaram, 1990
- Puntius nelsoni Plamoottil, 2015 
- Puntius nigronotus Plamoottil, 2015 
- Puntius ophicephalus B. S. Raj, 1941 (Channa barb)
- Puntius parrah F. Day, 1865
- Puntius paucimaculatus Y. H. Wang & Y. Ni, 1982 – possibly a synonym of Barbodes semifasciolatus. 
- Puntius pinnauratus F. Day, 1865 
- Puntius pugio S. O. Kullander, 2008
- Puntius punjabensis F. Day, 1871
- Puntius puntio F. Hamilton, 1822 (Puntio barb)
- Puntius sachsii C. G. E. Ahl, 1923 (Gold-finned barb) – validity questionable, appears to be a synonym of Barbodes semifasciolatus. 
- Puntius sahyadriensis Silas, 1953 (Khavli barb)
- Puntius schanicus Boulenger, 1893
- Puntius sharmai Menon & Rema Devi, 1993
- Puntius snyderi Ōshima, 1919
- Puntius sophore F. Hamilton, 1822 (Pool barb)
- Puntius sophoroides Günther, 1868
- Puntius spilopterus Fowler, 1934
- Puntius stigma Valenciennes, 1844 
- Puntius takhoaensis V. H. Nguyễn & L. H. Doan, 1969
- Puntius terio F. Hamilton, 1822 (Onespot barb)
- Puntius tetraspilus Günther, 1868
- Puntius thermalis Valenciennes, 1844
- Puntius thomassi F. Day, 1874 (Red canarese barb)
- Puntius titteya Deraniyagala, 1929 (Cherry barb)
- Puntius viridis Plamoottil & Abraham, 2014 
- Puntius vittatus F. Day, 1865 (Greenstripe barb)
- Puntius waageni F. Day, 1872
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Puntius.|
- 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. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 2013, Supplement No. 27: 1–663.
- de Graaf 'et al. (2007); see Haaramo (2008a) for additional sources
- Lambert (1997): p.14, Mills (2002)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Plamoottil, M. (2015). "Puntius nelsoni, Systomus chryseus and S. rufus (Cypriniformes: Cyprinidae), three new fish species from Kerala, India" (PDF). International Journal of Fauna and Biological Studies, 1 (6): 135–145.
- Plamoottil, M. (2015). "Puntius nigronotus, a new fish species (Cypriniformes; Cyprinidae) from Kerala, India." (PDF). Journal of Research in Biology, 4 (8): 1581–1588.
- 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.