The giant barb or Siamese giant carp, Catlocarpio siamensis (Thai: กระโห้, rtgs: kraho, Thai pronunciation: [krā.hôː], or กะมัน, rtgs: kaman, Thai pronunciation: [kā.mān]; Khmer: ត្រីគល់រាំង, trei kól reăng; Vietnamese: cá Hô), is the largest species of cyprinid in the world. These migratory fish are found only in the Mae Klong, Mekong, and Chao Phraya River basins in Indochina. It has declined drastically due to habitat loss and overfishing, and it is now considered critically endangered.
Distribution and habitat
They are usually seen in the big pools along the edges of large rivers, but seasonally enter smaller canals, floodplains, and flooded forests. Young barbs are usually found in smaller tributaries and swamps, but can acclimate to living in ponds, canals, and swamps. The fish generally live in pairs.
These are migratory fish, swimming to favorable areas for feeding and breeding in different parts of the year. These slow-moving fish subsist on algae, phytoplankton, and fruits of inundated terrestrial plants, rarely (if ever) feeding on active animals. In the lower Mekong basin, young giant barbs have been reported as occurring primarily in October.
The giant barb ranks among the largest freshwater fish in the world, and is probably the largest fish in the family Cyprinidae. It may reach 3 m (9.8 ft) (although this claimed maximum length needs confirmation) and weigh up to 300 kg (660 lb). Among the cyprinids, only the golden mahseer can reach a comparable length, but it is a relatively slender fish that weighs far less. Few large giant barbs are caught today. For example, no individual weighing more than 150 kg (330 lb) has been caught in Cambodia since 1994. Today, the maximum length is about 1.8 m (6 ft).[citation needed