; superorder Ostariophysi, order Cypriniformes)
In terms of numbers of species, by far the largest family of fish. It comprises freshwater fish that typically have a fairly elongate body, a single dorsal fin without true spines, a forked tail fin, ventral fins in the abdominal position, and no teeth on the jaws (although pharyngeal teeth may be present). Cyprinidae range in size from Rasbora maculata (dwarf rasbora), measuring 3 cm, to Barbus tor (mahseer), which reaches a length of 1.6 m. Many cyprinids are herbivorous, feeding on plants or algae. Many are also of considerable commercial importance as food fish (e.g. carp) or hobby fish (e.g. goldfish). Tinca tinca (tench) and Rutilus rutilus (roach), of Europe, are popular with anglers. The culture of Cyprinus carpio (carp) in ponds was established in parts of Europe and Asia several centuries ago. Many species are very popular with aquarium hobbyists. There are about 1600 species, occurring worldwide, but absent from S. and Central America, Madagascar, Australia, New Guinea, and New Zealand.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.