Category: Biology | Systematics

Classification of Cypriniformes

Fishes of Cypriniformes

Fishes of Cypriniformes

Cypriniformes is an enormously successful group of freshwater fishes. This order contains 3000 or so species, divided into main three lines of development- the characins-piranhas and their relatives- from Central to South American and Africa; the electric eels from tropical and subtropical Central and South America; and, finally the carps and their allies of the family Cyprinidae which gave the order its name. With about 1600 species, the carp family is the largest of all fish families. The members occur in North America, Africa, Europe and Asia (source: Animals Encyclopedia). According to Nelson (1984) this order contains 2422 species.

Major characteristics of Cyprinoid fishes are- mouth usually protectile and always toothless. Barbers may be present or absent. Adipose fin usually absent with exception in some cobitids. Body of cyprinoid fish covered with cycloid scales and head usually scales less. Pelvic fins abdominal and weberian apparatus present. 3 branchiostegal rays and members are oviparous.

However, the classification of order Cypriniformes based on fishes available in the Indian subcontinent are given below-

Families of Cypriniformes:

    Family 01: Cyprinidae (carps and minnows)
    Family 02: Parapsilorhynchidae
    Family 03: Psilorhynchidae
    Family 04: Balitoridae (Loaches)
    Family 05: Cobitidae (Loaches)

Family 01: Cyprinidae (carps and minnows)

  • Body compressed; rounded abdomen or with a sharp edge.
  • Terminal to inferior mouth and always toothless, head scales less.
  • Barbels present or absent, wide gill opening.
  • 3 branchiostegal rays. Belly usually rounded and without any scuits.
  • Jaws with no teeth but having strong pharyngeal teeth (key character of carps).

Subfamilies of family Cyprinidae:

    Subfamily 01: Cyprininae (Barbs)
    Subfamily 02: Cultrinae
    Subfamily 03: Leuciscinae
    Subfamily 04: Rasborinae
    Subfamily 05: Schizothoracinae (Snow trouts; snow minnows)
    Subfamily 06: Garrinae

Subfamily 01: Cyprininae (Barbs)

  • More or less oval or elongated body and compressed.
  • Moth terminal to inferior and lower jaw with a sharp bony edge.
  • One to three rows of pharyngeal teeth present.
  • One or two pairs of barbels.
  • Lateral line present and runs along median line of caudal peduncle.
  • e.g. Catla catla, Labeo rohita, Cirrhinus cirrhosus etc.

Subfamily 02: Cultrinae

  • Laterally compressed body with a cultrate (knife-like) abdominal edge.
  • No barbels, mouth terminal, sub-terminal or directed upwards.
  • Lower jaw longer than upper jaw.
  • Lateral line present and complete.
  • Short dorsal fin generally situated posterior half of the body.
  • 2 or 3 rows of teeth on pharyngeal bone.
  • e.g. Salmostoma bacaila, Securicula gora etc.

Subfamily 03: Leuciscinae

  • Laterally compressed and elongated body.
  • Eyes small and pharyngeal teeth in a single series.
  • Minute cycloid scales, lateral line present and runs along middle of caudal.
  • Large operculum and elongated anal fin present.
  • e.g. Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, H. nobilis etc.

Subfamily 04: Rasborinae

  • Laterally compressed and elongated body.
  • More or less rounded abdomen; terminal or inferior mouth.
  • One to three rows of pharyngeal teeth.
  • Caudal forked and anal short or elongate.
  • Barbels present, one or two pairs.
  • e.g. Amblypharyngodon mola, Esomus danricus, Aspidoparia morar etc.

Subfamily 05: Schizothoracinae (Snow trouts; snow minnows)

  • Body elongated and with inferior to terminal mouth.
  • 2-3 rows of pharyngeal teeth.
  • Small cycloid scales cover the fish body.
  • Rays of pelvic fins un-branched but rest are branched.
  • Lateral line present and complete.
  • e.g. Schizothorax richardsonii, S. kumaonensis etc.

Subfamily 06: Garrinae

  • Body elongated and with inferior mouth.
  • 3 rows of pharyngeal teeth on pharyngeal bone.
  • Pelvic and pectoral fins (paired fins) horizontally placed.
  • One or two pairs of barbels.
  • Lower lip often modified into suctorial disc.
  • e.g. Garra kempi, G. hughi etc.

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Family 02: Parapsilorhynchidae

  • Body elongated and spindle shaped.
  • Ventral surface of the body flattened.
  • Short and narrow head with very small inferior mouth.
  • Pharyngeal teeth two pairs.
  • A pair of short and stumpy rostral barbels present.
  • e.g. Parapsilorhynchus prateri, P. tentaculatus etc.

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Family 03: Psilorhynchidae

  • Body elongated; greatly arched dorsally and flattened ventrally.
  • Jaws with sharp bony edge and fleshy lips present.
  • Small and inferior mouth with no barbels.
  • Four rows of pharyngeal teeth.
  • Lateral line present and complete.
  • Short anal fin with five branched rays.
  • e.g. Psilorhynchus balitora, P. homaloptera etc.

.

Family 04: Balitoridae (Loaches)

  • Body elongated and depressed and flattened below.
  • Body covered with small cycloid scales.
  • Scales often present on head.
  • Paired fins often horizontally placed.

Subfamilies of family Balitoridae:

    Subfamily 01: Balitorinae (Hillstream loaches)
    Subfamily 02: Nemacheilinae

Subfamily 01: Balitorinae (Hillstream loaches)

  • Streamlined body; moderately or greatly depressed.
  • Body flattened ventrally.
  • Small and short dorsal and anal fins; eyes small.
  • Mouth subterminal or inferior and contains at least 3 pairs of barbels.
  • Pelvic and pectoral fins horizontally inserted.
  • Small cycloid scale covers the body.
  • Head and ventral surface of body scales less.
  • e.g. Homaloptera montana, Balitora burmanica etc.

Subfamily 02: Nemacheilinae

  • Depressed head and body, flattened below.
  • Paired fins not inserted ventrally placed or inserted.
  • erminal mouth with fleshy lips present.
  • Eyes small, barbels small and stumpy.
  • e.g. Nemacheilus anguilla, Acanthocobitis botia etc.

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Family 05: Cobitidae (Loaches)

  • Laterally compressed head and body and not flattened below.
  • Subterminal to inferior mouth with thick and fleshy lips.
  • Single row of pharyngeal teeth.
  • Usually with three pairs of barbels.
  • Fins with no spine.
  • Body covered with small cycloid scales.

Subfamilies of family Cobitidae:

    Subfamily 01: Cobitinae
    Subfamily 02: Botiinae

Subfamily 01: Cobitinae

  • Elongated, compressed and oblong body.
  • Inferior to subterminal mouth present.
  • Usually with single pair of rostral barbels.
  • Caudal fin usually rounded.
  • 8-30 fin rays in dorsal fin.
  • Single row of pharyngeal teeth.
  • e.g. Lepidocephalus guntea, L. thermalis, Somileptus gongota etc.

Subfamily 02: Botiinae

  • Body elongated, short and oblong or laterally compressed.
  • Rostrail barbels 2 pairs and 1 pair of maxillo-mandibular barbels.
  • Anterior nostril tubular.
  • Caudal fins deeply forked and dorsal fin with 8-13 branched rays.
  • e.g. Botia dario, B. lohachata, B. dayi

Literature cited:

  • Talwar, P.K. and A.G. Jhingran, 1991. Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent Countries, Vol. I, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi-Calcutta,  pp. 152-541.

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Lecturer, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi, Bangladesh. Ex-student, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi. Email: thegalib@gmail.com. More...

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