Barbonymus altus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Barbonymus altus
Species Authority: (Günther, 1868)
Common Name(s):
English Red-tail Tinfoil Barb, Tinfoil Barb
Barbodes foxi (Fowler, 1937)
Barbus altus Günther, 1868

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-02-17
Assessor(s): Allen, D.J.
Reviewer(s): Rainboth, W., Ng, H.H., Kullander, S.O. & Juffe Bignoli, D.
The species has a wide distribution in the several river basins in Thailand, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and Lao PDR. Although it has some threats (including over-fishing and harvesting for the aquarium trade), it is assessed as Least Concern at present. Populations should be monitored for declines, and impacts from future mainstream dams should be looked for.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Distributed in the Mekong and Chao Phraya basins in Thailand (Mun River), Cambodia, Viet Nam, and Lao PDR. Also recorded from the Maeklong, peninsular and southeast Thailand river systems (Vidthayanon et al. 1997 ).
Cambodia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Thailand; Viet Nam
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A common species. It is the twelfth most common species at the Khone Falls in the dry season migrations, representing 0.29% of the catch (Baird et al. 2003)
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Found in large waterways and rivers, and will enter flood plains and flooded fields. This species migrates from the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia to southern Lao PDR up the Mekong between November - February (Baird et al. 2003).

Occurs at midwater depths in large and medium-sized rivers and floodplains. Feeds on various plant and animal matter. Colonizes inundated forests and adults migrate back to the river in October. Young of the year follow thereafter when the water levels recede (Froese and Pauly 2010).
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Large-sized fish are marketed fresh while smaller ones are used to make fermented products. It is a popular fish in the aquarium trade, and is known to be captured from the wild for the ornamental fish trade in Thailand (Ukkatawewat 1984) and to be cultured in floating cages in Viet Nam (Rainboth 1996).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Likely to be impacted locally in parts of its range by pollution and overfishing.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Research is required on the species distribution, population trends, habitat and ecology.

Bibliography [top]

Baird, I.G., Flaherty, M.S. and Phylavanh, B. 2003. Rhythms of the river: Lunar phases and migrations of small carps (Cyprinidae) in the Mekong River. Natural History Bulletin in the Siam Society 51(1): 5-36.

Froese, R. and Pauly, D. 2010. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. Available at:

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 16 June 2011).

Rainboth, W.J. 1996. Fishes of the Cambodian Mekong.

Ukkatawewat, S. 1984. The taxonomic characters and biology of some important freshwater fishes in Thailand..

Vidthayanon, C., Karnasuta, J. and Nabhitabhata, J. 1997. Diversity of freshwater fishes in Thailand. Office of Environmental Policy and Planning, Bangkok, Thailand.

Citation: Allen, D.J. 2013. Barbonymus altus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 01 September 2015.
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