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A new species of smiliogastrin cyprinid is described from tributaries of the middle Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Restriction of the genus name, Barbus, to certain large-bodied, (polyploid) barbins, and current uncertainty regarding phylogenetic relationships among the numerous small-bodied African (diploid) barbs, renders generic assignment for the new species problematical. Pending the results of ongoing systematic analyses, and to reduce short-term nomenclatural instability, the new species is described here as a species of “Barbus.”3 “Barbus” validus, new species, is readily distinguished from all other small-bodied African barbs by the combined possession of scales in midlateral series that are not enlarged relative to those along the impinging rows above and below; well-developed barbels, with the maxillary pair extending beyond the level of mideye, and the mandibular pair reaching the level of midopercle; the presence of numerous conical tubercles over the snout, cheek, and dorsum of head; a small circular occipital fontanel located medially at the parietal suture; well-developed gill rakers, with 8 or 9 on the hypo- and ceratobranchial elements of the first arch; a last unbranched dorsal-fin ray that is weakly ossified and lacking serrations along the posterior border; and a dorsal fin that is creamy white proximally and with the distal half to two thirds darkly pigmented.