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Gymnostomus ariza (HAMILTON, 1807)

SynonymsTop ↑

Cyprinus ariza Hamilton, 1807; Labeo ariza (Hamilton, 1807); Gobio hamiltonii Jerdon, 1849; Gobio bovianus Jerdon, 1849


Gymnostomus: from the Ancient Greek γυμνός (gumnós), meaning ‘naked’, and στόμα (stóma), meaning ‘mouth’, presumably in reference to the lack of barbels in this genus.

ariza: presumably derived from arija, the vernacular Telugu name for this species.


Order: Cypriniformes Family: Cyprinidae


Widely-distributed from the Indus basin in Pakistan, through Bangladesh, Myanmar, and much of India including the Ganges-Brahmaputra, Barak, Mahanadi, Krishna, and Cauvery drainages as well as a number of smaller river basins.

Type locality is ‘Vedawati stream, tributary of Tungabahdra River, Krishna basin, southern India’.


Inhabits flowing streams and tributaries with clear water.

Maximum Standard Length

250 – 300 mm.


Naturally breeds during the wet season in temporarily-inundated zones, and is also produced commercially for food, a process involving induced breeding and rapid growth in ponds.

NotesTop ↑

According to Roberts (1997) G. ariza can be diagnosed by the following combination of characters: body with variably intense thin stripes distributed mostly above the lateral line; larger individuals sometimes with a broad midlateral stripe; 32-35 lateral scales; 7-8/1/5-6 transverse scale rows; 8-9 branched dorsal-fin rays 8-9; 22-24+ 11-12=34(4), 35 (3) vertebrae;  live colour pattern variable, overall dull dirty white to greyish, silvery or yellow.

It has a confusing taxonomic history, having been considered a member of Bangana, Cirrhinus and Labeo in recent years, but is currently placed in Gymnostomus based on Yang et al., 2012 and Kottelat, 2013. The latter incorporated the Southeast Asian species formerly referred to the genus Henicorhynchus within Gymnostomus, but the former, phylogenetic, study treated Henicorhynchus separately and used Gymnostomus only in reference to Indian species. This is significant since in the resulting phylogenetic tree Henicorhynchus and the Indian Gymnostomus species were placed in separate evolutionary clades, i.e., they are not closely related to one another. It is unclear whether further taxonomic changes will be required in the future in order to reflect this disparity, but here on SF we currently follow Kottelat (2013) since it was published more recently and has been widely accepted, thus Henicorhynchus is a synonym of Gymnostomus.

Gymnostomus species are considered members of the tribe Labeonini within the putative cyprinid subfamily Cyprininae or simply the subfamily Labeoninae (name varies with author). According to the most recent phylogenetic research, this grouping is further divided into four subtribes; Labeoina, Garraina, Osteochilina, and Semilabeoina (Yang et al., 2012). Among these, Gymnostomus is included in the Labeoina alongside Labeo, Bangana sensu stricto (which includes the genus Nukta), Cirrhinus sensu stricto, Cirrhinus microlepis (which is of a different genetic lineage to other Cirrhinus species), and Incisilabeo. As noted above, however, this refers only to the Indian species of Gymnostomus, with the Southeast Asian species placed in the Osteochilina assemblage.


  1. Hamilton, F., 1807 - i-iv + 1-479 + i-xiii + index
    A journey from Madras through the countries of Mysore, Canara, and Malabar, performed under the orders of the most noble the Marquis Wellesley, governor general of India, for the express purpose of investigating the state of agriculture, arts, and commerce; the religion, manners, and customs; the history natural and civil, and antiquities, in the dominions of the rajah of Mysore, and the countries acquired by the Honourable East India company.
  2. Kottelat, M., 2013 - Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 27: 1-663
    The fishes of the inland waters of southeast Asia: a catalogue and core bibiography of the fishes known to occur in freshwaters, mangroves and estuaries.
  3. Liu, K. and W. Zhou , 2009 - Zootaxa 1980: 61-68
    Bangana brevirostris, a new species of cyprinid fish (Teleostei: Cypriniformes) from the Lancang-Jiang (Upper Mekong River) drainage in Yunnan, southwest China.
  4. Roberts, T. R., 1997 - Natural History Bulletin of the Siam Society 45(2): 171-203
    Systematic revision of the tropical Asian labeoin cyprinid fish genus Cirrhinus, with descriptions of new species and biological observations on C. lobatus.
  5. Yang, L., M. Arunachalam, T. Sado, B. A. Levin, A. S. Golubtsov, J. Freyhof, J. P. Friel, W-J. Chen, M. V. Hirt, R. Manickam, M. K. Agnew, A. M. Simons, K. Saitoh, M. Miya, R. L. Mayden, and S. He, 2012 - Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 65(2): 362-379
    Molecular phylogeny of the cyprinid tribe Labeonini (Teleostei: Cypriniformes).
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