Hampala Barb – Hampala Macrolepidota – Thai Fish Species

Species: Hampala macrolepidota.

Common names: Jungle Perch, Hampala barb. Thai Name: Pla Kasoop Kit.

Distribution: Found in freshwater environments across several countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia. Their distribution includes the following countries India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Habitat: Hampala barb are known to inhabit a variety of aquatic environments. Often found in rivers, streams, areas with moderate to fast flowing clear water, also lakes and reservoirs with aquatic vegetation as well submerged rocks, boulders, logs, and other structures in the water. This vegetation and structures provide them hiding places and areas where they can ambush prey. They are known to inhabit areas where different types of water bodies meet, such as the transition between rivers and lakes or reservoirs. They can be found in different depth zones of water bodies, from shallower areas to moderately deep sections. It’s important to note that while these characteristics are commonly associated with Hampala barb habitats, their exact distribution and habitat preferences can vary based on local conditions and environmental factors.

Hampala barbHampala Barb (Hampala macrolepidota)

Hampala Barb are one of the predator fish of the Cyprinid family (carp), they are easy to identify from the others by their streamlined body, The predominant color of this species is typically silver or silvery-grey, often with a metallic sheen that makes it shimmer of light. They have a dark vertical band running downwards from the anterior of the dorsal fin to below the lateral line. And black marginal striping in both lobes of the caudal fin. Other fins, including the anal fin, pectoral fins, and pelvic fins, are usually transparent or semi-translucent with a reddish tinge. They have relatively large and expressive eyes, which are adapted to help it spot prey and navigate its environment effectively.

It’s worth noting that the intensity of the vertical stripe and the overall coloration can change as the fish ages and in response to factors like water quality and diet. While young individuals tend to display a more pronounced stripe, older fish may have a more muted pattern. Nonetheless, the combination of the silver body and prominent vertical stripe makes it easily recognizable and attractive species in its freshwater habitat.

Hampala Barb Lifespan and size

The exact lifespan can vary based on a range of factors, including habitat conditions, food availability, predation, and human activities. However, based on available information, the typical lifespan of a Hampala Barb in the wild is estimated to be around 5 to 10 years. They can grow to a significant size, making it an impressive and sought-after fish among anglers and fish enthusiasts. They can grow up to 80 cm and 9 kg. (19.8lbs) but average size is 2 – 3 kg. (4,4 – 6,6 lbs.) The present world record for Hampala Barb is 6.5 kg.

Hampala Barb Diet

This predatory fish has a varied diet that typically consists of a range of aquatic organisms. Its diet can vary based on its habitat, availability of prey, and local ecological conditions. Known to be a piscivorous fish, meaning it preys on other fish. It often feeds on smaller fish species that are present in its habitat. This can include smaller cyprinid fish, minnows, and other small fish that inhabit the same waters. They will also feed on small amphibians like frogs and tadpoles. Crustaceans such as shrimps, prawns, and small crabs are also part of the diet. These crustaceans are a good source of protein and nutrients for the fish.

Fry and young fish feed on insects (larvae, nymphs) this can include various types of aquatic insects such as aquatic beetles, dragonfly larvae, and aquatic flies. The diet may also include other aquatic invertebrates like mollusks and worms. The diet of the Hampala Barb is opportunistic, meaning it will consume whatever prey is available and suitable in its habitat. Its strong predatory behavior and large size enable it to hunt and consume a variety of prey items. The specific composition of its diet can vary depending on factors such as the season, the type of habitat they inhabits, and the availability of different prey species.

Breeding Timeline

Hampala Barb reach sexual maturity after the third year of life, when they are around 13 – 14 cm. in length. They typically exhibit breeding behavior during the rainy season, which provides optimal conditions for reproduction, due to increased water flow and food availability. These fish are substrate spawners, meaning they deposit their eggs on surfaces such as rocks, vegetation, or other underwater structures. They may select areas with appropriate substrate and water flow conditions for spawning. They engage in some form of nest preparation, clearing the chosen spawning site and creating a suitable substrate for egg attachment. However, the details of their nesting behavior can vary based on local conditions.

The female releases the eggs and males release sperm (milt), usually simultaneously to ensure fertilization. The adhesive eggs stick to the chosen substrate for protection from water currents and potential predators. Like many other fish species, Hampala Barb do not exhibit extensive parental care beyond the initial egg-laying and fertilization. Once the eggs are laid and fertilized, the adults do not provide further care for the developing embryos. The eggs develop over time, but the exact duration can vary depending on temperature and other environmental factors. The eggs hatch into larvae. After hatching, the larvae undergo various stages of development before becoming juvenile fish. The juveniles require suitable habitats with ample food sources and protection to grow and survive.


Gender determination of Hampala Barb can be challenging, especially when they are young. However, there are certain characteristics and behavior that can help distinguish between male and female individuals as they mature. Keep in mind that these differences might not be easily discernible until the fish reach a certain age and size.

Mature males tend to have slightly slimmer and more streamlined body compared to females. Females appear slightly rounder due to their reproductive anatomy. During the breeding season or when sexually mature, males display more intense and vibrant colors, particularly in the areas around their anal and caudal fins. These areas might become reddish or even develop a reddish hue with black markings. The anal and caudal fins of mature males may be more elongated and pointed compared to females. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, the coloration in these fins might become more prominent during breeding. Some males exhibit a small, light-colored “egg spot” on their anal fin. This spot can resemble the appearance of an egg and is thought to be involved in courtship and mating behavior. It’s important to note that not all males will display this feature.

During the breeding season, males engage in more aggressive behavior and compete for the attention of females. They might also display courtship behaviors such as chasing and displaying their colors. In some cases, male Hampala Barb may grow slightly larger than the females. However, this difference is not reliable for gender determination. Sex determination can be challenging and might require experience, especially when the fish are not in their breeding condition. If you are trying to accurately determine the sex of Hampala Barb, it’s a good idea to observe their behavior and physical characteristics over time. As they reach maturity and enter breeding conditions, the differences between males and females becomes more noticeable.

Hampala Barb Fishing method

Fishing for Hampala Barb can be an exciting and challenging experience due to their strong fighting behavior and size. This is a great sport fish, weight for weight they are one of the hardest-fighting freshwater fish in Thailand. Lures such as surface lures, spoons, soft plastics, spinners, spinner baits and minnow profile plugs. Account for most of the catches. Flies like poppers, clouser minnows and Deceivers will work for the fly fisherman. Small Hampala Barb are also great sport on light tackle. Bigger Hampala Barb require heavier tackle, especially in snaggy areas. Fishing in water with weedy and growing vegetation using top water lures. Fishing the deep pools in the rivers with diving lures, can all be very productive fishing techniques.

Source: Wikipedia Fishbase

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