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The all-female lineages are therefore sperm parasites and have to occur in sympatry with one of the parental species in a hybrid complex.As a result, hybridogenous individuals in the complex are difficult to distinguish from the bisexual parent species on external characters.

Males have 1-2 laminar projections on the dorsal surface of the anterior pectoral fin rays known as the laminae circularis or Canestrini's scales.The origins of this group of loaches may well lie at the end of the Eocene or in the early Oligocene in South China, spreading along a northern route through Europe and Siberia during the Oligocene-Miocene-Pliocene period and then later southwards into Southwest Asia (Sawada, 1982; Menon, 1987; 1992; Bănărescu and Nalbant, 1998; Šlechtov et al., 2008; Tang et al., 2008).An early Oligocene route also existed between the Anatolian landmass and Central Asia (Tang et al., 2008) and cobitids may have invaded the Euro-Mediterranean zoogeographic subregion at least five times independently based on cytochrome b data.Berra (2001) does not indicate the more southern distribution of this genus in Khuzestan and Fars provinces of Iran. Anonymous (1988a) places Cobitidae on the Official List of Family-Group Names in Zoology (rather than the grammatically correct but unused Cobitididae) and Cobitis taenia is designated as the type species for the genus Cobitis (see also Kottelat (1986) for further information).The body form is fusiform to rounded or elongate; the mouth is subterminal and has 3-6 pairs of barbels; the mental lobes of the lower lip have two parts: the anterior which is usually short and sometimes divided into lobules, and the posterior which is flap-like and longer and sometimes divided into 2 or more barbel-like extensions; there is 1 row of pharyngeal teeth; and there is an erectile spine in a groove below the eye (anterior in a non-Iranian genus).

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