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Pethia conchonius


  • Last modified
  • 04 October 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Documented Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Pethia conchonius
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Actinopterygii
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Pethia conchonius, commonly known as rosy barb, is a small, popular ornamental freshwater fish that is native to India and other parts of South and Southeast Asia. It occurs as an introduced species in Singapor...

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Pethia conchonius (rosy barb); male.
CaptionPethia conchonius (rosy barb); male.
Copyright©Mark Maddern-2014
Pethia conchonius (rosy barb); male.
MalePethia conchonius (rosy barb); male.©Mark Maddern-2014
Pethia conchonius (rosy barb); male, 50mm in length.
CaptionPethia conchonius (rosy barb); male, 50mm in length.
Copyright©Mark Maddern-2014
Pethia conchonius (rosy barb); male, 50mm in length.
MalePethia conchonius (rosy barb); male, 50mm in length.©Mark Maddern-2014


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Pethia conchonius (Hamilton, 1822)

Other Scientific Names

  • Barbus conchonius Hamilton 1822
  • Barbus pyrhopterus McClelland 1839
  • Cyprinus conchonius Hamilton 1822
  • Puntius conchonius Hamilton 1822
  • Puntius conchonius khagariansis Datta Munshi and Srivastava 1988
  • Systomus conchonius Hamilton 1822
  • Systomus pyropterus McClelland 1839

International Common Names

  • English: red barb; rosy barb

Local Common Names

  • Bangladesh: kanchan punti
  • Brazil: conchonio
  • Czech Republic: parma nádherná; parmicka cervená; parmicka nádherná; parmicka ozdobná
  • Denmark: pragtbarbe
  • Finland: loistobarbi
  • Germany: Prachtbarbe
  • India: chikka karsae; kanchan punti; karse; kharauli-pothi; khavli; pitia kerundi; pothi
  • India/Assam: puthi; putthi
  • India/Indian Punjab: chidu; ticker
  • Nepal: pothi; pothia sidre; sidre
  • Poland: brzanka rósowa
  • Puerto Rico: mino rosado
  • Russian Federation: ognennyi puntius
  • Sweden: praktbarb

Summary of Invasiveness

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Pethia conchonius, commonly known as rosy barb, is a small, popular ornamental freshwater fish that is native to India and other parts of South and Southeast Asia. It occurs as an introduced species in Singapore, Mexico, USA, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Brazil and Australia, principally because of human-mediated translocation and release. In Brazil, releases are due to the aquarium trade. Due to the popular ornamental status of P. conchonius, it is rarely considered a pest. P. conchonius's invasive qualities include its wide environmental tolerances, ability to colonise disturbed habitats, trophic opportunism and fast growth rates. Of particular note is that the species is cold tolerant and will therefore occupy temperate aquatic environments (e.g. southwestern Australia) unlike many invasive tropical ornamental fishes. Ecological impacts upon endemic fish fauna may include resource competition and predation of aquatic invertebrate communities as a whole.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Actinopterygii
  •                     Order: Cyprinodontiformes
  •                         Family: Cyprinodontidae
  •                             Species: Pethia conchonius

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Pethia conchonius was originally described as Cyprinus conchonius (Hamilton, 1822) and then renamed Puntius conchonius (Hamilton, 1822) until the creation of the Pethia genus by Pethiyagoda et al. (2012). The species is still generally referred to as Puntius conchonius in aquarist/hobbyist literature.

Pethia conchonius was formerly included in the Puntius conchonius ‘group’ of closely-related barb species alongside P. atra, P. bandula, P. cumingii, P. didi, P. erythromycter, P. gelius, P. khugae, P. macrogramma, P. manipurensis, P. meingangbii, P. nankyweensis, P. nigripinnis, P. nigrofasciata, P. padamya, P. phutunio, P. punctata, P. reval, P. setnai, P. shalynius, P. stoliczkana, P. thelys, P. tiantian, and P. ticto, but all of these were moved to the new genus Pethia by Pethiyagoda et al. (2012), as were P. melanomaculata, P. pookodensis, P. muvattupuzhaensis, P. ornatus and P. yuensis.

The genus Puntius was a polyphyletic genus containing over 100 species of small to mid-sized barbs until Pethiyagoda et al. (2012) published a partial review covering South Asian members.


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P. conchonius has a short to moderately elongated body that is deep and compressed while the abdomen is rounded and the head is short (Saroniya et al., 2013).It is reported to grow to a maximum size of 14 cm total length (TL) (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991).

The sizes of individuals vary within P. conchonius populations. Individuals from central India (i.e. within its native range) ranged from a minimum of 5.6 cm to a maximum of 10.0 cm TL (mean and standard deviation 6.95 + 0.89 cm) (Saroniya et al., 2013). P. conchonius collected from Lake Dal in Kashmir, India, ranged in length from 38 mm to 84 mm with mature fish 45 mm or larger (Shafi et al., 2013). P. conchonius collected from an introduced population in south-western Australia individuals ranged from 20-58 mm TL (Beatty et al., 2006). In Brazil, the species grows up to a maximum of 6 cm (female 5.6 cm standard length, male 4.5 cm standard length, juvenile 1.7 cm standard length) (Magalhães et al., 2013a).

Morphological/meristic characteristics of P. conchonius are as follows (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991; Saroniya et al., 2013): 9 dorsal fin rays; 11-12 pectoral fin rays; 9 ventral fin rays; 7-8 anal fin rays; 19 caudal fin rays; 24 lateral line scales; 8-11 pre-dorsal scales; 10-12 pre-ventral scales; 15-19 pre-anal scales; 0 barbels.

The colouration of P. conchonius is variable within and between native and introduced populations. Introduced populations of P. conchonius lack the reddish colouration of ornamental fish and are drab silver/cream though males may develop reddish colouration during the breeding season. For example, a wild Indian population was described by (Saroniya et al. 2013) as: “… coppery reddish in lower half and blackish in upper half of the body and the upper part of dorsal fin was black during breeding season while bright silvery colour in other period”. Males of introduced populations in Brazil have a strong dark reddish coloration (Magalhaes et al., 2013a)

Introduced populations in Queensland, Australia, are described as: “pinkish-red with silver flecks along the sides; dorsal and anal fins with black tips; during the spawning season males become a deep reddish colour and females become more luminous” (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, 2013).

During the breeding season, male P. conchonius may change from a drab silvery/grey background colour to red (Froese and Pauly 2013).

Male fish of ornamental varieties developed by selective breeding, such as the ‘glowlight chilli’ maintain an intense red colouration permanently.

P. conchonius (and other members of the Pethia and Puntius genera) have black markings. P. conchonius typically has a black spot at the rear of the body near the start of the caudal peduncle. However, members of these genera have body markings that may vary in size and shape depending upon season, state of maturity and physiological state (Shantakumar and Vishwanath 2006).

Images of P. conchonious from native Asian populations, introduced populations and ornamental varieties (i.e. long-finned and glowlight chilli) may be viewed at Beatty et al. (2006); Froese and Pauly (2013); Saroniya et al. (2013); Western Australian Department of Fisheries (2013); and Magalhães et al. (2013a).


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P. conchonius is native to South and Southeast Asia, from Afghanistan to Myanmar, but occurs as an introduced species in Singapore.

It has been introduced to Mexico and the USA in North America, Colombia and Brazil in South America and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. P. conchonius can also be found as an introduced species in Australia.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


AfghanistanPresentNative Not invasive Talwar and Jhingran, 1991
BangladeshPresentNative Not invasive Rahman, 1989
IndiaPresentNative Not invasive Menon, 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2013
-Jammu and KashmirPresentNative Not invasive Raina and Petr, 1999In lakes and reservoirs
MyanmarPresentNative Not invasive Hla Win, 1987; Oo, 2002
NepalPresentNative Not invasive Talwar and Jhingran, 1991
PakistanPresentNative Not invasive Mirza, 2002
SingaporePresentIntroducedNg et al., 1993

North America

MexicoPresentIntroducedLever, 1996
-FloridaAbsent, formerly presentIntroducedUSGS, 2010Palm Beach County
-LouisianaAbsent, formerly presentIntroducedUSGS, 2010

Central America and Caribbean

Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedErdsman, 1984; Martin and Patus, 1984Established in the Loiza Reservoir and Rio Arroyata, and other locations

South America

BrazilPresentIntroducedMagalhaes et al., 2013aEstablished in the Pinheiros and Chato creeks located in the largest ornamental aquaculture center of South America, state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil
ColombiaPresentIntroducedFroese and Pauly, 2013


-QueenslandPresentIntroduced Not invasive Allen, 1989In streams around Brisbane
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Beatty et al., 2006; Government of Western Australia, 2013Recorded in one stream near Cape Naturaliste, SW WA; Recorded in rivers and ornamental lakes near Perth, Western Australia

History of Introduction and Spread

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In the USA, the species was collected from a Lake Worth Drainage District canal adjacent to a fish farm in Palm Beach County, Florida, in the late 1960s or early 1970s (Courtenay et al., 1974), though further collections have not occurred (Nico, 2010). Specimens were collected from Louisiana though it was thought to be a “failed” introduction (Nico, 2010).

In Australia, the species has been recorded from two mainland states; Queensland and Western Australia. In Queensland, P. conchonius was collected from streams in and around Brisbane in the 1960s and 1970s (McKay 1984; Allen 1989). The current status of these populations is unknown.

In Western Australia, the first introduced population of P. conchonius was discovered in 2006 at Jingarmup Brook approximately 250 km south of the Western Australian state capital, Perth. Between 2006 and 2010 three subsequent populations were recorded; one in the Serpentine River (approximately 100 km south of Perth) and two populations in metropolitan Perth (one in the Canning River, the second in a small ornamental lake) (Beatty et al., 2006; Western Australian Department of Fisheries, 2013). It is very probable that P. conchonius will spread within the interconnected streams/rivers and drainage systems of the Canning and Serpentine rivers as introduced populations naturally disperse.

In Brazil, the area where P. conchonius is introduced is considered the largest ornamental aquaculture centre of South America, in operation since 1979, and is located in southeastern Brazil. The Muriaé Ornamental Aquaculture Center comprises 13 municipalities in Minas Gerais state, encompassing about 350 fish farms with 4,500 fish ponds. Most ponds are drained every 45 days, and do not have screens on the effluent pipes to prevent escapes. More than 60 non-native fish species from 13 families are cultivated and, overall, this centre produces 10,000,000 freshwater aquarium fish per year. The creeks where P. conchonius lives are small (4 km), slow-moving, shallow (30–100 cm deep), with an average width of 137 cm, sandy to muddy bottoms, clear waters and margins with abundance of non-native grasses Brachiaria spp. (Magalhaes and Jacobi, 2013b).


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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Colombia   Yes No Welcomme, 1988 Established in the Magdalena watershed, produced commercially for ornamental market
Florida 60s - 70s Aquaculture (pathway cause) No No USGS, 2010
Mexico 1967 Intentional release (pathway cause) Yes No Welcomme, 1988
Puerto Rico USA <1971 Aquaculture (pathway cause) Yes No Welcomme, 1988
Queensland 1970 Intentional release (pathway cause) Yes No Allen, 1989; McKay, 1984 May no longer be present in Brisbane
Western Australia Australia 2000s> Intentional release (pathway cause) Yes No Beatty et al., 2006; Government of Western Australia, 2013 Originally identified in 2006 near Margaret River. Three subsequent populations identified ~2010 south of Perth and Perth metropolitan area.
Brazil 1980s-2000s Aquaculture (pathway cause) Yes No Magalhaes and Jacobi, 2013b Established in the Pinheiros and Chato creeks located in the largest ornamental aquaculture center of South America, state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil

Risk of Introduction

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In Brazil, the establishment of P. conchonius in Atlantic Forest creeks is confirmed; these small water bodies could act as dispersing agents (stepping stones) after heavy rains, since their final portions drain directly to the Glória reservoir. This prediction is supported by a study conducted by Magalhães et al. (2002) in this reservoir, which showed that the non-native P. conchonius originating from fish farms bordering the Boa Vista creek were in reproductive activity several kilometres from their points of origin.There are two main factors likely to influence the risk of introduction of P. conchonius to natural environments; the popularity of the species as an ornamental fish and the number of naturalized introduced populations.

P. conchonius is a popular ornamental species and it therefore follows that the potential for the release of fish is correlated with the popularity of that species and its abundance among fish hobbyists. For example, in Australia, Corfield et al. (2007) listed the relative importance of P. conchonius as a commercial aquarium fish species in Australia as “high” with the volume of fish sold as “medium” (which equates to between 10,000 to 100,000 fish sold per year). In Brazil, Magalhães and Jacobi (2013c) listed the relative importance of P. conchonius as a commercial aquarium fish species as "high (71.71% of annual frequency of occurrence)" with the volume of fish sold as "high" (which equates to 3,504 fish sold per year in only two cities in southeastern Brazil).

There is the potential for the natural dispersal of introduced populations of P. conchonius and this is more likely to occur in areas that contain multiple populations and/or larger and widely distributed populations. For example, in Western Australia there is the very high probability of the species spreading within the interconnected streams/rivers and drainage systems of the Canning and Serpentine rivers. In Brazil, the establishment of P. conchonius in Atlantic Forest creeks is confirmed; these small water bodies could act as dispersing agents (stepping stones) after heavy rains, since their final portions drain directly to the Glória reservoir. This prediction is supported by a study conducted by Magalhães et al. (2002) in this reservoir, which showed that the non-native P. conchonius originating from fish farms bordering the Boa Vista creek were in reproductive activity several kilometres from their points of origin.

The status of P. conchonius as an introduced species in Western Australia provides an interesting example of the correlation between geographic areas where there is a higher probability of the translocation and release of fishes (i.e. large population centres), and the actual established populations that have been recorded. In south-western Australia, two of the four recorded P. conchonius populations (including the oldest) are in sparsely-populated rural areas where it is likely that few people keep ornamental fishes and ornamental fishes are not locally available. Thus, this example demonstrates that various factors influence the establishment and success of introduced fish populations, not only anthropogenic factors (i.e. proximity to large population centres).


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P. conchonius inhabits lakes and rivers (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991; Menon, 1999; Raina and Petr, 1999). In the Damodar River System in India it is found in slow moving, shallow rivers with stagnant pools (Sarkar and Banjeree, 2010). In floodplain lakes of Kashmir Valley, India (Himalayas) it occurs in the floodplain lakes and associated wetlands (Raina and Petr, 1999).

It occurs in anthropogenically-modified habitats (Damodar River System) within its native range (India) (Sarkar and Banjeree, 2010).

Introduced populations in southwestern Australia occupy small streams (Beatty et al., 2006), larger river systems and ornamental lakes (Western Australian Department of Fisheries, 2013). Introduced populations in southeastern Brazil occupy small Atlantic Forest streams (Magalhães et al., 2002; Magalhães and Jacobi, 2013a; Magalhães and Jacobi, 2013b).

Female P. conchonious were observed in breeding condition in shallow river system with stagnant pools in Damodar River System in India (Sarkar and Banjeree 2010).

Habitat List

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Lakes Principal habitat Natural
Lakes Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Ponds Principal habitat Natural
Ponds Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Rivers / streams Principal habitat Natural
Rivers / streams Principal habitat Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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The diploid/haploid chromosome numbers of P. conchonius are 48-48/24 or 50-50/25 (Froese and Pauly 2013).

Reproductive Biology

P. conchonius is oviparous and like most small barbs is an egg-scattering free spawner that exhibits no parental care.

The fecundity of P. conchonius was researched by Bahuguna et al. (2007) in the Mandal River in the Himalayas. 73 mature females (53-79 mm) exhibited an absolute fecundity ranging from 523.0-1366. A monthly analysis of the sex ratio of fish varied from 1:1 (April) to 1:1.8 (July) with an annual average 1:1.17.

Mature female P. conchonius collected from Dal Lake in Kashmir, India, exhibited an absolute fecundity of 154.07-7202.91, and a relative fecundity of 43.0-1268.0 (Shafi et al., 2013). These authors concluded that P. conchonius is a “partial” or heterochronal spawner; i.e. spawning takes place over a long period of time and occurs concurrently with the development of eggs at different stages within the ovary. The species is a batch spawner with spawning extending from mid-May with peaks in June and July in Dal Lake. In Brazil, the species is a batch spawner (spawned ovaries containing oocytes 1 (initial perinucleolar), 2 (advanced perinucleolar), 3 (previtellogenic), 4 (vitellogenic) and post-ovulatory follicles indicated fractionated-type spawning) with spawning extending all year round (Magalhães and Jacobi, 2013a).

The effects of salinity on embryogenesis and hatching of P. conchonius was researched by Bhattacharya et al. (2006). They concluded that embryos at different stages of development were exposed to salinities of 4, 6, 8 and 10 ppt. The results suggested that early development stages (2-4 cell and blastula embryos) were unable to tolerate salinities above 8-10 ppt. Thus, P. conchonius is unlikely to be able to reproduce in brackish water systems and certainly not in seawater.

P. conchonius breeds throughout the year under laboratory conditions and may spawn at intervals as short as 8 days (Varadi and Horvath 1993). Eggs hatch within 24-36 hours (Sterba 1966), with Adam et al. (1995) reporting a period of approximately 24 hours from fertilization to hatching at 28 °C.

Sex differentiation occurs post-hatching between 18-21 days in females and 36-40 in males (Çek 2006). Çek et al. (2001) observed the sex ratio in 300 laboratory fish to be 210:80 in favour of female fish. Maturation of female P. conchonius may occur in as short a period of time as 112 days (Çek et al., 2001).

Fry avoid predation by staying in close proximity to the substrate and/or vegetation for a number of days (Sterba 1966).


Like most successful small, introduced freshwater fishes, P. conchonius is an omnivore with undemanding dietary requirements. Its diet is reported to consist of worms, insects, crustaceans and plant matter. The species will also reportedly consume the eggs and fry of conspecifics and other species (Sterba, 1966; Mills and Vevers, 1989).

Malhotra and Gupta (1990) researched the seasonal diet of P. conchonius from the freshwater Lake Mansar. They found that the species is an omnivore and consumed primarily plant/algal material though also aquatic invertebrates and detritus. The “plant material” included plankton (zoo and phyto), desmids, diatoms and multicellular algae and macrophytes. The aquatic invertebrates included cladocera and copepoda. Food intake increased from December to April with the authors speculating that this was driven by the growth of the gonads prior to spawning in May.

P. conchonius is reported to be cannibalistic (Sterba 1966).


No recognized associations between P. conchonius and other species. However, in many of the larger rivers systems P. conchonius often co-occurs with other barbs and cyprinids.

Environmental Requirements

P. conchonius is considered a hardy and undemanding ornamental species and perhaps the hardiest of all the barb species maintained in aquaria with very general environmental requirements.

“Generic” water quality parameters often referenced for the species are: pH range 6.0-8.0; dH range 5-19; temperature 18-22 °C (Riehl and Baensch, 1996; Froese and Pauly, 2013).

Sarkar and Banjeree (2010) surveyed 13 stations in the upper, middle and lower river areas of the Damodar River in India. Environmental water parameters were recorded for four years, at eight stations during the pre-monsoon (March to June), monsoon (July to October), and post-monsoon (November to February). Female P. conchonius in breeding condition were observed at three stations; Chandrapura, Tarakeshwar and Panchet. The environmental parameters recorded at these stations suggest that P. conchonius is not only tolerant of much wider environmental parameters than those stated above, but as females were collected in breeding condition it is possible that the species may also breed under such conditions.

In the Damodar River, pH ranged from a low of 3.23 at Panchet in monsoon to a high of 7.95 in Tarakeshwar in pre-monsoon. Low pH values were also observed at Tarakeshwar (4.02 in monsoon) and Chandrapura (4.3 in pre-monsoon). Dissolved oxygen ranged from a low of 2.45 mg/l at Chandrapura in monsoon to a high of 9.63 mg/l at Panchet in post-monsoon. Free Carbon dioxide ranged from a low of 6.24 mg/l at Panchet in post-monsoon to a high of 47.64 mg/l at Panchet in pre-monsoon. Alkalinity ranged from a low of 7.15 mg/l at Chandrapura in monsoon to a high of 687 mg/l at Panchet in post-monsoon. Transparency ranged from 1.2 cm at Tarakeshwar in monsoon to 150.8 cm at Panchet in pre-monsoon. Water temperature ranged from a low of 21 °C at Tarakeshwar in monsoon to a high of 39.84 °C at Chandrapura in pre-monsoon (Sarkar and Banjeree 2010).

In south-western Australia, the water parameters where Beatty et al. (2006) collected P. conchonius at Jingarmup Brook were: temperature approximately 16 °C, conductivity approximately 1200 µS/cm (i.e. approximately 0.6 ppt), pH approximately 7.4 and dissolved oxygen approximately 8.8 ppm (very approximately 8.8 mg/l). In southeastern Brazil, the water temperatures where Magalhães and Jacobi (2013b) collected P. conchonius in Atlantic Forest creeks were above 20°C, even exceeding 30°C from November to March.

Raina and Petr (1999) collected P. conchonius in the floodplain lakes and wetlands of the Kashmir Valley in the Indian Himalayas. The physic-chemical parameters of the lakes were: surface water temperature 4 °C - 31.5 °C, Transparency 0.5 m – 4.0 m, pH 7.2 – 10.2, dissolved oxygen 0.25 mg/l – 12.2 mg/l and total alkalinity 50 mg/l – 192 mg/l.

The survival of P. conchonious in habitats with the physic-chemical parameters quoted above; i.e. low pH values (Sarkar and Banjeree 2010) and low and high water temperature values (Raina and Petr 1999; Sarkar and Banjeree 2010) suggests that the species is highly adaptable and likely to survive in many aquatic environments in tropical, subtropical and temperate areas.


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Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Preferred < 430mm annual precipitation
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
40 34

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Carbon Dioxide (mg/l) 6.24 47.64 Harmful Sarkar and Banjeree, 2010
Conductivity (µmhos/cm) 1200 Harmful Beatty et al., 2006
Dissolved oxygen (mg/l) 0.25 12.2 Harmful Raina and Petr, 1999; Beatty et al., 2006; Sarkar and Banjeree, 2010
Hardness (mg/l of Calcium Carbonate) 5 19 Harmful Froese and Pauly, 2013
Salinity (part per thousand) 0 Optimum Less than 10 ppt for embryogenesis to occur (Sarkar and Banjeree, 2010)
Salinity (part per thousand) 10 Harmful Less than 10 ppt for embryogenesis to occur (Sarkar and Banjeree, 2010)
Turbidity (JTU turbidity) 1.2 400 Harmful Raina and Petr, 1999; Sarkar and Banjeree, 2010
Water pH (pH) 3.23 10.2 Harmful Raina and Petr, 1999; Beatty et al., 2006; Sarkar and Banjeree, 2010; Froese and Pauly, 2013
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 18 22 Optimum Raina and Petr, 1999; Sarkar and Banjeree, 2010; Beatty et al., 2006; Froese and Pauly, 2013
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 4 40 Harmful Raina and Petr, 1999; Sarkar and Banjeree, 2010; Beatty et al., 2006; Froese and Pauly, 2013

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (non-biotic)

Further spread of P. conchonius by natural dispersal may occur (e.g. via flooding), though is most likely in areas with substantial populations. For example, in south-western Australia the species may spread within the Canning and Serpentine rivers and tributaries.

Intentional Introduction

P. conchonius may be intentionally introduced to aquatic habitats as unwanted ornamental fishes. This is the most likely explanation for the nonindigenous populations.

Accidental Introduction

In Brazil may be non-intentionally introduced to aquatic habitats as escapees of tropical fish farms (Magalhães and Jacobi, 2013b).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Intentional release Yes Yes Allen, 1989; Allen, 1989; McKay, 1984
Pet trade Yes Yes Corfield et al., 2008

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Pets and aquarium species Yes Yes Corfield et al., 2008
WaterWithin river systems - supposition by author Yes

Impact Summary

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Environment (generally) Negative

Impact: Environmental

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Impact on Biodiversity

No definitive data is available on the environmental impact of P. conchonius, though generalisations can be made regarding the diet, reproduction and ecology of the species.

P. conchonius is omnivorous and may consume worms, insects, crustaceans and plant matter (Sterba, 1966; Mills and Vevers, 1989; Malhotra and Gupta, 1990). The species is therefore likely to be important in the structuring of food webs (Malhotra and Gupta, 1990). In Brazil, competition for food is possible between the non-native cyprinid P. conchonius, and the native cichlids Geophagus obscurus (= Geophagus brasiliensis) and Australoheros muriae, since they are all omnivorous and usually live in the deep layer of Atlantic Forest creeks (Magalhães and Jacobi, 2013b).

P. conchonius may directly predate upon the eggs and fry of conspecifics and other species (Sterba, 1966; Malhotra and Gupta, 1990).

Risk and Impact Factors

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  • Abundant in its native range
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Fast growing
  • Gregarious
  • Has a broad native range
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist

Likelihood of entry/control

  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Difficult/costly to control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally


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Economic Value

P. conchonius is a popular ornamental species in Australia and worldwide (Rixon et al. 2005; Corfield et al., 2008).

Social Benefit

P. conchonius has been used as a model for: clinical toxicology/phycology trials (Gill and Pant, 1983; Kumar and Pant, 1988; Khulbe et al., 1995), fish physiology (Khanna and Singh, 1983), genetics (Varadi et al., 1995), developmental biology (Amanze, 1994), fish behaviour (Pyanov, 1993) and histochemistry (Hill and Womersley, 1993).

Uses List

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  • Host of pest


  • Pet/aquarium trade
  • Research model

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Within the native range of P. conchonius, there are many closely related barbs with a similar appearance which were part of the Puntius conchonius ‘group’ (see the Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature section).

Pethia species are diagnosed by the following combination of characters: rostral barbels absent; maxillary barbels minute or absent; possession of a stiff, serrated last unbranched dorsal-fin ray; presence of a black blotch on the caudal peduncle, and frequently, black blotches, spots or bars on the side of the body; infraorbital 3 deep and partially overlapping the preoperculum (Pethiyagoda et al., 2012).

The identification of introduced populations of P. conchonious outside of its native range is likely to be straightforward as no other closely-related barb species are widely distributed as ornamental fishes.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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More research needs to be conducted on the impacts of P. conchonius on ecosystems and resource competition with sympatric fishes.

Little research appears to have been conducted on specific survival strategies or phenotypic variation P. conchonius populations. While independent research has been conducted on important characteristics such as reproductive strategies and diet, this research has principally been conducted upon the species within its native range.


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13/02/2014 Original text by:

Mark Maddern, University of Western Australia, Australia

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