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Overview

Brief Summary

Mugil cephalus, commonly known as the flathead grey mullet, can be found in tropical, subtropical and temperate rivers, estuaries and coastal waters. Mugil cephalus has acharacteristically flat head, torpedo shaped body and two dorsal fins. This species has a silver underside with a darker, greenish brown back; sometimes they have dark stripes along their sides. They become sexually mature at around 32-50 cm in length and around 2-years-old.They migrate offshore to spawn in large groups then the larvae settle in more protected shallow estuary habitats. As the fish grow in size and maturity, some move to somewhat deeper waters (Fischer and Bianchi 2012). They primarily feed on detritus and plankton and use a gizzard-like stomach to aid with digestion (Cardona et al. 2000, Fischer and Bianchi 2012). Flathead mullet are an important aquaculture species, particularly in many Asian and Mediterranean countries (Fischer and Bianchi 2012).

References

Cardona, L. Gisbert, E. and Torras, X. 2000. Cascading effects of the flathead grey mullet Mugil cephalus in freshwater eutrophic microcosmos. Hydrobiologia, 429: 49–57.

Fischer, W. Bianchi, Mugil cephalus (Linnaeus, 1758). 2012. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/fishery/culturedspecies/Mugil_cephalus/en. Accessed 29 Sep 2012

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Comprehensive Description

Biology

Adults are found in coastal waters (Ref. 2850, 44894) often entering estuaries and rivers (Ref. 2847, 3573, 11230, 44894). They are usually in schools over sand or mud bottom (Ref. 2850), between 0 and 10 m, occurring equally in tropical, subtropical and temperate waters (Project MUGIL). They are mainly diurnal, feeding on detritus, micro-algae and benthic organisms (Ref. 56548, 74902, 74760). Juveniles feed on zooplankton until about 3.0 cm SL (Ref. 59043). Reproduction takes place at sea, at various times of the year depending on the location (Ref. 74907, Amour). There is absence of an obligatory freshwater phase in the life cycle (Ref. 74752). Females spawn 0.8 to 2.6 million eggs which develop at sea (Ref. 74912, Chen & Su 1986). Sexually mature at 3 to 4 years (Ref. 74902). Maximum length reported as 120 cm SL (Ref. 7399) remains to be confirmed (Project MUGIL). Maximum weight reported as 12 kg (Ref. 56527) seems too high for the area and remains to be confirmed (Project MUGIL). Widely cultivated in freshwater and brackish ponds (Ref. 2847, Jackson 1984, Liao 1981). Marketed fresh, dried, salted, and frozen; roe sold fresh or smoked (Ref. 9321); also used in Chinese medicine (Ref. 12166).
  • Harrison, I.J. 1995 Mugilidae. Lisas. p. 1293-1298. In W. Fischer, F. Krupp, W. Schneider, C. Sommer, K.E. Carpenter and V. Niem (eds.) Guia FAO para Identification de Especies para lo Fines de la Pesca. Pacifico Centro-Oriental. 3 Vols. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 9321)
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Mugil cephalus ZBK Linnaeus, 1758

Mediterranean Sea : 18000-765 (3 spc.), 29.04.2005 , Samandagi , cast net , C. Dalyan . Inland water: 18000-352 (3 spc.), 28.03.1972 , Kuecuekcekmece Lagoon , Istanbul , N. Meriç .

  • Nurettin Meriç, Lütfiye Eryilmaz, Müfit Özulug (2007): A catalogue of the fishes held in the Istanbul University, Science Faculty, Hydrobiology Museum. Zootaxa 1472, 29-54: 48-48, URL:http://www.zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:428F3980-C1B8-45FF-812E-0F4847AF6786
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Description

  Common names: mullet (English), lisa (Espanol)
 
Mugil cephalus Linnaeus, 1758

Striped mullet,     Grey mullet,     Flat-head mullet
Moderately elongate, robust body; head broad, flattened above; eyes mostly covered by a well developed transparent fatty eyelid; mouth small (rear end of upper jaw reaching to level of anterior rim of eye),  opens at front,  lips thin, with knob at front of lower lips; outer row of teeth in jaws simple (not forked); no teeth on tongue or roof of mouth; two short, widely spaced dorsal fins, IV + I, 8;  anal fin III, 8; pectorals high on body, 1st  ray hard,  fin not reaching level of origin of first dorsal fin; pelvics inserted behind pectoral base; forked tail; scales moderate to large, rough on body of adults;  scales in lateral series 39-44; second dorsal and anal with scales on front and base only; no lateral line.

Olive on back, silvery on sides, and white below; 6-7 brownish stripes on side.

Size: grows to 135 cm.

Habitat: forms schools in sandy bottom areas, but large adults sometimes seen near the surface in clear water near reefs.

Depth: 0-125 m.

Circumglobal in tropical and temperate seas; Southern California to the Gulf of California to Peru; Cocos and Galapagos.    
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The striped mullet, Mugil cephalus, can attain 18" in length and reach approximately 3 pounds. Body shape is cylindrical anteriorally, becoming somewhat laterally compressed toward the posterior. Adult coloration is bluish-gray or greenish above, becoming silver along the sides of the body, and white on the ventral surface. There are 6-7 black horizontal bars along the sides of the body, and no obvious lateral line. The pectoral fins are placed high on the shoulders, and the pelvic fins are abdominal. M. cephalus has a blunt snout, and a small, somewhat upturned mouth.Nine species of mullet occur in the west central Atlantic ocean (Ditty and Shaw 1996). In Florida, M. cephalus is the most common of the mullet species, but also occurs with M. curema, the white mullet, and M. gyrans, the fantail mullet. Differences in fin rays and fin morphology help separate species. There is an apparent seasonality of larvae, which also assists in separating larvae of M. cephalus from other species, especially M. curema. Larvae of M. cephalus are most abundant in the northern Gulf of Mexico from November through December, while those of M. curema are most abundant from April through May.
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Distribution

Mugil cephalus occurs in the coastal waters of the tropical and subtropical zones of all seas. Striped mullet are found in the western Atlantic Ocean, from Nova Scotia, Canada south to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico. They are absent in the Bahamas and the Caribbean Sea (Robins and Ray 1986). In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, striped mullet occur from the Bay of Biscay (France) to South Africa, including the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea (Thomson 1951). The eastern Pacific Ocean range includes southern California south to Chile (Eschmeyer et al. 1983).

Biogeographic Regions: indian ocean (Native ); atlantic ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Introduced , Native ); mediterranean sea (Native )

Other Geographic Terms: cosmopolitan

  • Eschmeyer, W., E. Herald, H. Hammann. 1983. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Robins, C., G. Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Boston, U.S.A.: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Thomson, J. 1951. Growth and habits of the sea mullet, Mugil dobula Günther, in Western Australia. Australia: Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat..
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Range Description

This species is widespread throughout the tropics and sub-tropical seas to warm temperate regions.
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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Tropical and subtropical coastal areas throughout world; also in temperate zone. North to Monterey Bay, California, and to Nova Scotia (most common from Chesapeake Bay south and south of Los Angeles). Native to perennial Hawaiian streams. Absent from Bahamas and most of West Indies and Caribbean.

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Western Atlantic: Nova Scotia, Canada to Brazil; Cape Cod to southern Gulf of Mexico; absent in the Bahamas and most of West Indies and Caribbean
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Zoogeography

See Map (including site records) of Distribution in the Tropical Eastern Pacific 
 
Global Endemism: All species, TEP non-endemic, Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans), "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific), All Pacific (West + Central + East), East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West), Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America), East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West)

Regional Endemism: All species, Eastern Pacific non-endemic, Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic, Continent + Island (s), Continent, Island (s)

Residency: Resident

Climate Zone: North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California), Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap), Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos), Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo), South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
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Cosmopolitan in coastal waters of the tropical, subtropical and temperate zones of all seas. Eastern Pacific: California, USA to Chile (Ref. 2850). Western Pacific: Japan to Australia (Ref. 9812). Western Indian Ocean: from India to South Africa (Ref. 4393). Western Atlantic: Nova Scotia, Canada to Brazil (Ref. 7251); Cape Cod to southern Gulf of Mexico (Ref. 26938); absent in the Bahamas and most of West Indies and Caribbean (Ref. 7251, 9761). Eastern Atlantic: Bay of Biscay to South Africa, including the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea (Ref. 7399). Reported in Sea of Okhotsk (Ref. 50550).
  • Thomson, J.M. 1986 Mugilidae. p. 344-349. In J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ISNB, Brussels, MRAC; Tervuren; and ORSTOM, Paris. Vol. 2. (Ref. 3573)
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Mugil cephalus occurs worldwide from approximately 42° N to 42° S Latitude (Bok 1979, Render et al. 1995), where it inhabits estuarine intertidal, freshwater and coastal marine habitats. In the western Atlantic Ocean, M. cephalus ranges from Cape Cod to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and West Indies (Amos and Amos 1997). Mugil cephalus occurs lagoon-wide, with juvenile fishes most common in impounded areas, around mangroves, in seagrass beds, and offshore throughout the late fall and winter.
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Circumglobal in temperate and tropical seas and estuaries (including Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mascarenes, Hawaiian Islands); introduced in some lakes.
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Western Atlantic: from Cape Cod to Brazil, but strays into outer Nova Scotia; Eastern Atlantic: present. Eastern Pacific: from Monterey to Chile. Also, in other parts of the Pacific.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; Billard, R., 1997; Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983; Harrison, I.J., 1995; Keith, P., O.-Y. Le Bail and P. Planquette, 2000; Teugels, G.G., 1990; Thomson, J.M., 1986 ; Thomson, J.M., 1951.
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Depth

Depth Range (m): 0 (S) - 125 (S)
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Mugil cephalus are capable of surviving in brackish, salt, and freshwater environments in a variety of depths (Chang et al. 2004). They can potentially range in the Western Atlantic from Canada to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, but are not present in the Caribbean. On the other side of the Atlantic they are likely to be seen from France to South Africa, and are especially common in the Mediterranean. Along the Eastern Pacific coastline they can be found from southern California down to Chile (Fischer and Bianchi. 2012).

References

Chang, C. W., Iizuka, Y., Tzeng, W. N. 2004. Migratory environmental history of the grey mullet Mugil cephalus as revealed by otolith Sr:Ca ratios. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 269: 277-288.

Fischer, W. Bianchi, Mugil cephalus (Linnaeus, 1758). 2012. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/fishery/culturedspecies/Mugil_cephalus/en. Accessed 29 Sep 2012

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Physical Description

Morphology

The maximum length of striped mullet is 120 cm, with a maximum weight of 8 kg. The body of striped mullet is subcylindrical and anteriorly compressed. They have a small, terminal mouth with inconspicuous teeth and a blunt nose. The lips are thin, with a bump at the tip of the lower lip. The adipose eyelid is prominent with only a narrow slit over the pupil. The body is elongate and the head is slightly wider than deep. Pectoral fins are short, not reaching the first dorsal fin. The origin of the second dorsal fin is posterior to the origin of the anal fin. The lateral line is not visible. This mullet is often confused with white mullet, Mugil curema. However, white mullet have scales extending onto the soft dorsal and anal fins while striped mullet do not. They may also be identified based on the anal ray fin counts of 8 for striped mullet and 9 for white mullet. The body is grayish olive to grayish brown, with olive-green or bluish tints and sides fading to silvery white towards the belly. Dark longitudinal lines, formed by dark spots at the center of each scale on the upper half of the body, run the length of the body. Young fish smaller than 15 cm in length lack stripes. There is a large dark blotch at the base of the pectoral fin. The pigmentation in the iris is dispersed and brown, a character that also helps to distinguish it from M. curema. The mouth is triangular in shape when viewed from above, with small, close-set teeth arranged in several rows on the jaws (Bester 2004).

Range mass: 8 (high) kg.

Range length: 120 (high) cm.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Dorsal spines (total): 5; Dorsal soft rays (total): 7 - 9; Analspines: 3; Analsoft rays: 8 - 9
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Size

Length max (cm): 135.0 (S)
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Size

Length: 35 cm

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Maximum size: 1200 mm SL
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Max. size

100.0 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 2804)); max. reported age: 16 years (Ref. 28725)
  • Ben-Tuvia, A. 1986 Mugilidae. p. 1197-1204. In P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese (eds.) Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean. Volume 3. UNESCO, Paris. (Ref. 2804)
  • Thomson, J.M. 1963 Synopsis of the biological data on the grey mullet Mugil cephalus Linnaeus 1758. CSIRO Division of Fisheries and Oceanography, Fisheries Synopsis 1. 65 p. (Ref. 28725)
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Mugil cephalus attains an adult size of 46 cm (18 inches). In the first year, it grows to 17.8 - 22.2 cm (7 - 8.5 inches), and weighs 64 - 119 g (2.3 - 4.2 oz.).Prejuvenile mullet from 0.17 - 0.35 cm (0.07 - 0.14 inches) standard length (SL) are a distinct silvery color, with evident countershading (i.e., they are generally darker on the dorsal surface than on the ventral surface). Prejuveniles and small juveniles form loose schools of tens to hundreds of individuals that occupy shallow, warm, near-shore water where they feed intensely and continuously. Prejuveniles undergo metamorphosis to the juvenile stage before they reach 0.50 cm (0.2 inches). The most striking change seen after metamorphosis is the loss of silver body color , especially along the dorsal side. Countershading is still evident, however. Other metamorphic changes in juvenile mullet include elongation and convolution of the intestine, development of adipose eyelids, transformation of some soft anal fin rays into spines, and changes in the morphology of the teeth and lips (Major 1978). The ontogenetic shift in the diet of M. cephalus from feeding primarily on copepods and other small zooplankton, to feeding on detritus and algae is coincident with metamorphic changes in the intestine, teeth and lips of the fish as it becomes a juvenile (Major 1978).
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to 120.0 cm SL (male/unsexed); max. weight: 8,000.0 g .
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; Billard, R., 1997; Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983; Harrison, I.J., 1995; Keith, P., O.-Y. Le Bail and P. Planquette, 2000; Teugels, G.G., 1990; Thomson, J.M., 1986 ; Thomson, J.M., 1951.
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Diagnostic Description

Description

Occurs at temperatures ranging from 8-24°C (Ref. 4944) in calm waters close to shore, around mouths of streams and inlets, and brackish bays and harbors. Usually found in schools over sand or mud bottom (Ref. 2850). Mainly diurnal, feeds on zooplankton, benthic organisms and detritus. Also takes diatom algae and small invertebrates (Ref. 9072). Feeds occasionally at the surface (Ref. 9987). Can be used in aquaculture if stock is collected from the sea (Ref. 4967). Marketed fresh, dried,salted, and frozen; roe sold fresh or smoked (Ref. 9312).
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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Color olive-green dorsally, sides silvery shading to white ventrally; lateral stripes sometimes distinctive. Lips thin. Pectoral fins short (when folded forward does not reach eye). Well developed adipose eyelid. Anal spines 3 in adults; anal soft rays 8 in adults, 9 in larvae.
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Ecology

Habitat

Orange River Habitat

The Orange River is the longest watercourse in Southern Africa. Lying south of the Zambezi River, The Orange River rises in the Drakensberg Mountains and flows westward to discharge into the Atlantic Ocean. The river has a length of 2208 kilometres and drains 48 percent of the land area of South Africa and forms the national boundary between that country and Namibia. The total drainage area amounts to 896,368 square kilometres, and the discharge at the mouth is about 11.5 cubic kilometres per annum.

Excessive nutrient loading from overly intensive fertilizer usage in agricultural areas in the Vaal and middle reach Orange River is the major water quality issue in the basin. Headwaters areas of the basin support high endemism in flora and reptiles, while the middle reaches of the basin boast significant endemism in small mammals. Lower reaches of the basin support high endemism in both reptiles and small mammals.

The chief water quality concerns are within South Africa, and more specifically in the densely populated areas of Johannesburg, Pretoria and the Vaal Triangle. Exacerbating the issue are insufficiency and ageing of the wastewater treatment plants of that locale, and the fact that discharges from that high population density region is at a higher elevation than the principal dams along the Orange River; thus, inevitably polluted discharges from the densely populated area reaches these warm termperature reservoirs, which are then poised to generate elevated bacterial levels.

Within the Orange River system 21 different fish taxa have been recorded, most of which are benthopelagic. The three largest benthopelagic native species are: the 170 centimetre (cm) long North African Catfish (Clarias gariepinus), the 122 cm Flathead Grey Mullet (Mugil cephalus) and the endemic 92 cm Vaal-Orange Largemouth Yellowfish (Labeobarbus kimberleyensis). Other noteworthy native benthopelagics are the basin endemic 56 cm Orange River Mudfish (Labeo capensis), the 56 cm basin endemic Smallmouth Yellowfish (Labeobarbus aeneus), the 45 cm Redbreast Tilapia (Tilapia rendalli). L aeneus may be useful in algae control in the Orange basin, since this omnivorous bottom feeder consumes considerable algae in its diet. The 146 cm Wild Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio carpio) is the largest introduced benthopelagic alien species in the Orange River.

The largest fish species in the Orange River system is the 200 cm pelagic-neritic Leerfish (Lichia amia), which is a true aquatic apex predator, functioning at trophic level 4,5. Native demersal fish are the 40 cm South African Mullet (Liza richardsonii) and the near endemic 37 cm Rock Catfish (Austroglanis sclateri).

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Amur River Benthopelagic Habitat

This taxon is one of a number of benthopelagic species in the Amur River system. Benthopelagic river fish are found near the bottom of the water column, feeding on benthos and zooplankton

The persistence of mercury contamination in Amur River bottom sediments is a major issue, arising from historic cinnabar mining in the basin and poor waste management practises, especially in the communist Soviet era, where industrial development was placed ahead of sound conservation practises.

Other large benthopelagic river fish of the Amur Basin is the 200 cm yellowcheek (Elopichthys bambusa) and the 122 cm Mongolian redfin (Chanodichthys mongolicus)

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Kunene River Benthopelagic Habitat

This taxon is one of a number of benthopelagic species in the Kunene River system. Benthopelagic river fish are found near the bottom of the water column, feeding on benthos and zooplankton

The Kunene River rises in the central highlands of Angola, and thence flows southward to form a major element of the border between Namibia and Angola before the final discharge is to the Atlantic Ocean in the vicinity of the Angola-Benguela Front. The geometry of the Kunene riparian zone is distinctly narrow, with rugged arid landscapes persisting on both sides of the river over long distances, and a virtual lack of any extensive floodplains.

There is a relatively high rate of endemism of aquatic biota in the Kunene. Proposed expansion of dams on the Kunene poses a threat to biodiversity in the river, especially regarding proposals at Epupa Falls. However, a greater threat to the Kunene is a plan by Angola to greatly expand withdrawal of water from the river to expand irrigated agriculture by 600,000 hectares; not only will this action significantly diminish downriver flow rates, but also add considerable nitrate, herbicide and pesticide substances to the river.

The catchment area of the Kunene Basin is approximately 106,560 square kilometres (41,143 square miles) in area, of which 14 100 km² (13%) lies within Namibian territory. Its mean annual discharge is 174 cubic meters per second (6145 cubic feet per second) at its mouth on the Atlantic. Water quality of the Kunene River is relatively high, since the human population density and agricultural intensity is relatively low, including a conspicuous absence of overgrazing. However, bacteria and other microbial pathogens pose a material threat to Kunene water quality, due to the fact that only a small fraction of the domestic wastewater in Angola is treated;

Regarding freshwater bivalves, the central reaches of the Kunene manifest particularly high endemism, similar to parts of the Okavango, Chobe, Upper Zambezi and Etosha Pan basins. The bivalve Etheria elliptica, which also occurs in the Upper Zambezi, is a freshwater mussel in the family Etheriidae, known from a limited extent of the central Kunene River in Angola. It is threatened by proposed dam construction on the Kunene.

There are several endemic benthopelagic fishes in the Kunene River: the eight centimeter (cm) long Kunene dwarf happy (Orthochromis machadoi); the 14 cm benthopelagic Namib happy (Thoracochromis buysi); and the seven cm benthopelagic Kunene kneria (Kneria maydelli).

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Mugil cephalus are found in highly salty to fresh waters that are warm or temperate from 8 to 24 C. They spend a great deal of time close to shore around the mouths of streams and rivers or in brackish bays, inlets, and lagoons with sand or mud bottoms (Texas Parks 2005). They often enter estuaries and freshwater environments. Adult mullet have been found in waters ranging from 0 ppt to 75 ppt salinity. Adults form huge schools near the surface over sandy or muddy bottoms and dense vegetation (Bester 2004).

Range depth: 0 to 120 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; saltwater or marine ; freshwater

Aquatic Biomes: benthic ; rivers and streams; coastal ; brackish water

Other Habitat Features: estuarine

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology

This species is pelagic near shores, it sometimes forages in lagoons, estuaries and lower courses of rivers and can tolerate freshwater. It is known to breed in its third year of life: adults school in estuaries then move out to sea to spawn in coastal surface water, before returning to estuaries and freshwater (Harrison and Senou 1999). Juveniles feed on zooplankton, larger individuals filter algae, detritus, sediment and small invertebrates.


Systems
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Habitat Type: Freshwater

Comments: Marine and estuarine, often ascending coastal rivers for considerable distances. Juveniles and subadults occur in a variety of estuarine and freshwater habitats. Primarily in shallow estuaries. Cannot tolerate temperatures less than 16 C for extended periods. Spawns primarily in open sea, young gradually move back into estuaries. May spawn in river (Moyle 1976).

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Occasionally found in Canadian Atlantic waters. Coastal species, found to depths of 120 m and often enter estuaries and rivers.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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nektonic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Environment

benthopelagic; catadromous (Ref. 51243); freshwater; brackish; marine; depth range 0 - 120 m (Ref. 9321), usually 0 - 10 m
  • Harrison, I.J. 1995 Mugilidae. Lisas. p. 1293-1298. In W. Fischer, F. Krupp, W. Schneider, C. Sommer, K.E. Carpenter and V. Niem (eds.) Guia FAO para Identification de Especies para lo Fines de la Pesca. Pacifico Centro-Oriental. 3 Vols. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 9321)
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Depth range based on 156 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 75 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): -9 - 190
  Temperature range (°C): 17.422 - 28.954
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.052 - 11.428
  Salinity (PPS): 34.131 - 36.384
  Oxygen (ml/l): 3.765 - 5.382
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.088 - 0.949
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 5.264

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): -9 - 190

Temperature range (°C): 17.422 - 28.954

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.052 - 11.428

Salinity (PPS): 34.131 - 36.384

Oxygen (ml/l): 3.765 - 5.382

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.088 - 0.949

Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 5.264
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 0 - 120m.
Recorded at 120 meters.

Habitat: benthopelagic. Coastal species (Ref. 2850) that often enters estuaries and rivers (Ref. 2847). Usually in schools over sand or mud bottom (Ref. 2850). Mainly diurnal, feeds on zooplankton, benthic organisms and detritus. Also takes diatom algae and small invertebrates (Ref. 9072). Widely cultivated in freshwater ponds in southeast Asia (Ref. 2847). Marketed fresh, dried,salted, and frozen; roe sold fresh or smoked (Ref. 9312). Used in Chinese medicine (Ref. 12166).
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Benthopelagic; freshwater; brackish; marine; depth range to 120 m. Coastal species that schools over sand or mud bottoms and dense vegetation. Frequently enters estuaries and rivers.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; Billard, R., 1997; Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983; Harrison, I.J., 1995; Keith, P., O.-Y. Le Bail and P. Planquette, 2000; Teugels, G.G., 1990; Thomson, J.M., 1986 ; Thomson, J.M., 1951.
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Salinity: Marine, Brackish, Freshwater

Inshore/Offshore: Inshore, Inshore Only

Water Column Position: Surface, Near Surface, Mid Water, Near Bottom, Bottom, Bottom + water column

Habitat: Soft bottom (mud, sand,gravel, beach, estuary & mangrove), Sand & gravel, Beach, Estuary, Freshwater, Water column

FishBase Habitat: Bentho-Pelagic
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Usually migrates, often in enormous schools, between spawning and nonspawning habitats (Manooch 1984).

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Catadromous. Migrating from freshwater to the sea to spawn, e.g., European eels. Subdivision of diadromous. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Trophic Strategy

Mullet are diurnal feeders, consuming mainly zooplankton, dead plant matter, and detritus. Mullet have thick-walled gizzard-like segments in their stomach along with a long gastrointestinal tract that enables them to feed on detritus.

They are an ecologically important link in the energy flow within estuarine communities. Feeding by sucking up the top layer of sediments, striped mullet remove detritus and microalgae. They also pick up some sediments which function to grind food in the gizzard-like portion of the stomach. Mullet also graze on epiphytes and epifauna from seagrasses as well as ingest surface scum containing microalgae at the air-water interface. Larval striped mullet feed primarily on microcrustaceans. One study found copepods, mosquito larvae, and plant debris in the stomach contents of larvae under 35 mm in length. The amount of sand and detritus in the stomach contents increases with length indicating that more food is ingested from the bottom substrate as these fish mature (Bester 2004).

Animal Foods: insects; aquatic crustaceans; zooplankton

Plant Foods: algae

Other Foods: detritus

Primary Diet: planktivore ; detritivore

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Can survive in freshwater but does not breed in it (Ref. 4967). In some areas such as Shark Bay and the Houtman Abrolhos in Western Australia, adults live in marine waters throughout the year. This behaviour seems to occur only where estuarine and freshwater habitats are limited (Ref. 28722). A small proportion (probably about 5%) (Ref. 28722) of older juveniles may leave the estuaries and migrate along the beaches in early summer. The migration may be associated with flooding of rivers and is referred to as the 'hardgut' migration because the mullets' guts are empty (Ref. 28722). Migrating sea mullet do not feed during either the 'hardgut' migration or spawning migration (Ref. 6390). Feed on zooplankton, benthic invertebrates, microalgae, and detritus (Ref. 11889). Undergo ontogenic shift in diet (Ref. 41769). Small mullet (< 4 cm SL) feed exclusively on sediment by browsing. Large mullet (< 4 cm SL) have been observed to feed by grazing on the sediment (Ref. 41769). Changes in the feeding habits from planktonic organisms and migratory zooplankton to meiobenthos which takes place between 0.1 and 0.2 cm length, and a switch from meiobenthos to microbenthos between 0.15 and 0.25 cm length (Ref. 56101). Sea mullet normally feed close to the river bed in shallow water, but do move throughout the water column in river channels and individuals often jump high out of the water (Ref. 6390). Sea mullet have a strong tendency to school as juveniles and during the spawning season as adults. Feeding schools of juveniles commonly disperse over sand and mud flats of estuaries during high tide and reform on the ebb tide (Ref. 28722). Presence of sharp pointed teeth that enable the species to select fine material (Ref. 74863).In southwestern Australia, Mugil cephalus is a dominant finfish in the middle and upper estuaries especially in winter and spring - up to 95% of frequency of occurrence (Lonengan & Potter 1990). Has a short, well-defined juvenile recruitment period; although found in freshwater, occurs in far greater numbers in all areas of estuaries and is common in the sea (Ref. 74748, 74749). Gill-raker filaments were found in the stomach captured using gill net. Mullets struggle to be free of the constricting meshes, food is often regurgitated at an early stage, subsequent gasping of oxygen would then easily cause gill-rakers, broken loose in the struggle, to be swalowed (Ref. 74739).Also Refs. 12676, 26213.
  • Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve 1993 Australian fisheries resources. Bureau of Resource Sciences, Canberra, Australia. 422 p. (Ref. 6390)
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Comments: Primarily herbivorous; eats plant material, detritus and associated fauna, and plankton. Feeds on muddy bottoms in shallow water. Sometimes feeds at surface on worms and other invertebrates and on bits of algae.

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Mugil cephalus is a heterotroph that, as an adult, is primarily a detritus feeder. Mullet are highly flexible in their food habits, with possible ontogenetic shifts in the diet as they age and make the transition from post-larva to adult. The mullet has a gizzard-like pyloric stomach and intestine that is 3-5 times the length of the body, indicating a principally herbivorous diet (Service et al. 1992). Many studies of feeding habits in mullet (Suzuki 1965, Odum 1968 and 1970, Zismann et al. 1975, Bishop and Miglarese 1978) found that juvenile M. cephalus (< 30 mm) are primarily carnivorous. However, De Silva and Wijeyarante (1977) found that young mullet (20-55 mm) feed primarily on diatoms (55.5%), followed by green algae (22.3%), Xanthophycea (15.5%), Cyanobacteria (6.1%) and animal matter (principally foraminiferans and copepods, 0.6 %).In one study, detritus and sand first began to appear in mullet over 25 mm in length (0.9 in.), and increased in percent occurrence as body length increased (De Silva and Wijeyarante 1977). This finding led the authors to conclude that 25 mm may represent a transitional size in mullet where they gradually begin to alter their trophic mode from being primarily planktonic or carnivorous feeders to being primarily benthic feeders. The findings of De Silva and Wijeyarante (1977) contradicted other studies in that these authors found a diurnal pattern of feeding in mullet, with peaks of activity occurring around dawn and midday, regardless of the state of the tide. Others (Odum 1970) found that M. cephalus feeds almost continuously throughout the day, and their feeding intensity varies with tidal state.Bishop and Miglarese (1978) found that the principal food sources of adult mullet are detritus and epiphytic algae. However, these authors also observed Mugil cephalus feeding opportunistically on swarming polychaetes of the Nereis genus. This observation lead the authors to suggest that since M. cephalus lack the mouthparts for tearing and cutting, predation must be limited to bite-sized prey, or to prey items which break apart easily. Odum (1970) made a similar observation about the opportunistic nature of feeding in mullet, stating that mullet will select food with higher caloric value whenever presented with the opportunity.Mullet also actively ingest "marine snow," a composite material which consists of detritus, mineral grains, phytoplankton, microorganisms, and small nematode worms all bound together in a mucous matrix. Particles range in size from 0.5 mm to several cm in size. Marine snow is nearly always present in coastal and estuarine environments (Larson and Shanks 1996), and is a valuable food source to detritivores such as M. cephalus.Competitors: Juvenile mullet > 50 mm, as well as adults, both appear to compete with prejuveniles in estuarine regions, with some evidence suggesting that limited habitat partitioning occurs. Major (1978) observed larger mullet moving into an intertidal estuarine region during high tide to feed on the same food resources used by smaller mullet during low tide. As the larger mullet moved in on the high tide, the smaller fishes moved closer to the shoreline in the high intertidal zone.Predators: Lizardfish, needlefish, crabs, etc. prey on juvenile M. cephalus. Larger mullet are subject to larger predators such as snook, snappers, barracuda, dolphins, etc. In the presence of large predators, prejuvenile, juvenile and adult mullet organize into tightly formed schools and tend to cease feeding activity. In the absence of predators, schools become more loosely organized, and individuals will feed constantly during low tides (Major 1978).Habitat: Juveniles occupy the high intertidal zone of estuaries where water temperatures and salinity fluctuate greatly. Older mullet inhabit deeper, more stable waters.
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Zooplankton, benthic organisms and detritus, but when in fresh waters, mostly algae. Diurnal feeders.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; Billard, R., 1997; Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983; Harrison, I.J., 1995; Keith, P., O.-Y. Le Bail and P. Planquette, 2000; Teugels, G.G., 1990; Thomson, J.M., 1986 ; Thomson, J.M., 1951.
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Feeding

Feeding Group: Planktivore, Herbivore, Detritivore

Diet: phytoplankton, benthic microalgae, detritus, zooplankton, pelagic fish eggs
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Associations

Striped mullet are an ecologically important link in the energy flow within marine communities. They serve as prey for their predators. Striped mullet are hosts for many parasites including flagellates, ciliates, myxosporidians, monogenean and digenean trematodes, nematodes, acanthocephalans, leeches, argulids, copepods, and isopods (Bester 2004).

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

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Major predators of striped mullet include larger fish, birds, and marine mammals. Spotted seatrout, Atractoscion aequidens, feed on mullet up to 13.8 to 35 cm long. Off the coast of Florida, sharks often feed on large mullet. Pelicans and other aquatic birds as well as dolphins also prey on striped mullet. Humans are also significant predators of striped mullet (Bester 2004).

Known Predators:

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Known prey organisms

Mugil cephalus preys on:
Bacillariophyceae

Based on studies in:
USA: Hawaii (Swamp)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • G. E. Walsh, An ecological study of a Hawaiian mangrove swamp. In: Estuaries, G. H. Lauff, Ed. (AAAS Publication 83, Washington, DC, 1967), pp. 420-431, from p. 429.
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Diseases and Parasites

Streptococcal Infection 2. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Chen, S.-C., L.-L. Liaw, H.-Y. Su, S.-C. Ko, C.-Y. Wu, H.-C. Chaung, Y.-H. Tsai, K.-L. Yang, Y.-C. Chen, T.-H. Chen, G.-R. Lin, S.-Y. Cheng, Y.-D. Lin, J.-L. Lee, C.-C. Lai, Y.-J. Weng and S.-Y. Chu 2002 Lactococcus garvieae, a cause of disease in grey mullet, Mugil cephalus L., in Taiwan. J. Fish Dis. 25:727-732. (Ref. 47496)
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Sphaerospora Infection. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Paperna, I. 1996 Parasites, infections and diseases of fishes in Africa. An update. CIFA Tech. Pap. No. 31. 220 p. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 45600)
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Pararhadinorhynchus Infestation 1. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Pichelin, S. and T.H. Cribb 2001 The status of the Diplosentidae (Acanthocephala: Palaeacanthocephala) and a new family of acanthocephalans from Australian wrasses (Pisces: Labridae). Folia Parasitol. 48(4):289-303. (Ref. 43334)
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Neoechinorhynchus Infestation 5. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Arthur, J.R. and A.B.A. Ahmed 2002 Checklist of the parasites of fishes of Bangladesh. FAO Fish. Tech. Paper (T369/1), 77 p. (Ref. 42533)
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Ichthyophonus Disease. Fungal diseases
  • Paperna, I. 1996 Parasites, infections and diseases of fishes in Africa. An update. CIFA Tech. Pap. No. 31. 220 p. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 45600)
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Haploporus Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Arthur, J.R. and A.B.A. Ahmed 2002 Checklist of the parasites of fishes of Bangladesh. FAO Fish. Tech. Paper (T369/1), 77 p. (Ref. 42533)
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Ergasilus Disease 8. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Paperna, I. 1996 Parasites, infections and diseases of fishes in Africa. An update. CIFA Tech. Pap. No. 31. 220 p. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 45600)
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Epitheliocystis. Bacterial diseases
  • Lannan, C.N., J.L. Batholomew and J.L. Fryer 1999 Chlamydial infections of fish: Epitheliocystis. p.255-267. In P.T.K. Woo and D.W. Bruno (eds.) Fish Diseases and Disorders Vol. 3: Viral, bacterial and fungal infections. CABI Int'l. (Ref. 48851)
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Edwardsiellosis. Bacterial diseases
  • Plumb, J.A. 1999 Edwardsiella Septicaemias. p.479-521. In P.T.K. Woo and D.W. Bruno (eds.) Fish Diseases and Disorders, Vol. 3: Viral, Bacterial and Fungal Infections. CAB Int'l. (Ref. 48850)
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Dactylosoma Infection 2. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Paperna, I. 1996 Parasites, infections and diseases of fishes in Africa. An update. CIFA Tech. Pap. No. 31. 220 p. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 45600)
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Carassotrema Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Arthur, J.R. and S. Lumanlan-Mayo 1997 Checklist of the parasites of fishes of the Philippines. FAO Fish. Tech. Pap. 369, 102 p. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 26129)
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Caligus Infestation 2. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Lin, C.-L. and J.-s. Ho 2002 Two species of siphonostomatoid copepods parasitic on pelagic fishes in Taiwan. J. Fish. Soc. Taiwan 29(4):313-332. (Ref. 48562)
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Caligus Infestation 1. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Arthur, J.R. and S. Lumanlan-Mayo 1997 Checklist of the parasites of fishes of the Philippines. FAO Fish. Tech. Pap. 369, 102 p. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 26129)
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Amyloodinium Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
  • Arthur, J.R. and S. Lumanlan-Mayo 1997 Checklist of the parasites of fishes of the Philippines. FAO Fish. Tech. Pap. 369, 102 p. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 26129)
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Population Biology

M. cephalus is the most abundant of the mullet species throughout much of its range, especially in fresh water and estuarine areas.Locomotion: Rulifson (1977), in tests to assess maximum burst swimming speed of mullet, found that most juveniles between 2.5-6.5 cm (1 - 2.5 inches) SL could sustain maximum swimming speeds of at least 12.7 body lengths (L) per second, for 30 seconds. These findings led Rulifson to suggest that M. cephalus juveniles could reach a maximum burst speed of over 20 L/s for approximately 2 seconds.
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General Ecology

Adults form large schools.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

The communication and perception of striped mullet has not been reported. They are likely to use chemical and visual cues.

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; chemical

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Diet

Feeds on zooplankton, benthic organisms, detritus
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Life Cycle

The eggs are transparent and pale yellow, non-adhesive, and spherical with an average diameter of 0.72 mm. Each egg contains an oil globule, making it positively buoyant. Hatching occurs about 48 hours after fertilization, releasing larvae approximately 2.4 mm in length. These larvae have no mouth or paired fins. At 5 days of age, they are approximately 2.8 mm long. The jaws become well-defined and the fin buds begin to develop. At 16 to 20 mm in length, the larvae migrate to inshore waters and estuaries. At 35 to 45 mm, the adipose eyelid is obvious, and by 50 mm it covers most of the eye. At this time the mullet is considered to be a juvenile. These juveniles are capable of osmoregulation, being able to tolerate salinities of 0 to 35 ppt. They spend the remainder of their first year in coastal waters, salt marshes, and estuaries. In autumn, they often move to deeper water while the adults migrate offshore to spawn. However, some young mullet overwinter in estuaries. After this first year of life, mullet inhabit a variety of habitats including the ocean, salt marshes, estuaries, and fresh water rivers and creeks (Bester 2004).

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One spawning aggregation was observed in detail. This consisted of five fish, a female and four males. Males would press against the female, which took place as the entire group moved along slowly, facing into a fairly strong tidal flow.
  • Breder, C.M. and D.E. Rosen 1966 Modes of reproduction in fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, New Jersey. 941 p. (Ref. 205)
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Life Expectancy

The lifespan of striped mullet is seven years for males and eight years for females, with a probable average lifespan of five years. The oldest striped mullet on record is one that lived 13 years (Texas Parks 2005).

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
13 (high) years.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
4 to 7 years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
5 years.

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
11.0 years.

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Reproduction

Striped mullet are catadromous, that is, they spawn in saltwater yet spend most of their lives in freshwater. During the autumn and winter months, adult mullet migrate far offshore in large aggregations to spawn. In the Gulf of Mexico, mullet have been observed spawning 65 to 80 km offshore in water over 1,000 m deep. In other locations, spawning has been reported along beaches as well as offshore.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Estimated fecundity of striped mullet is 0.5 to 2.0 million eggs per female, depending upon the size of the individual (Bester 2004). Female mullet reach sexual maturity in their fourth year, when they are between 40 to 42 cm. Males mature in their third year, once they reach a size of 33 to 38 cm. The minimum spawning size of females is between 31 to 34 cm. Striped mullet are oviparous fish (Hill 2004). Beginning in the early fall, large schools of mullet aggregate in the lower reaches of estuaries and at river mouths in preparation for offshore migration to spawning grounds. Environmental cues such as falling water temperatures, passage of cold fronts and falling barometric pressure are thought to trigger aggregation and subsequent migration. Spawning occurs in deep, offshore waters from mid-October through late January, with peak spawning occurring in November and December. Larvae and prejuveniles then migrate to inshore estuaries where they inhabit shallow, warm water in the intertidal zone. Mugil cephalus are isochronal spawners, with all oocytes reaching maturity at the same time. However, based on the size of the female body cavity, it is unlikely that a female's entire store of eggs is hydrated at the same time in preparation for spawning. Rather, females are likely to hydrate eggs in batches and spawn on successive evenings until their supply of yolked eggs is depleted (Hill 2004).

Breeding interval: Striped mullets breed once yearly.

Breeding season: Spawning occurs in autumn and winter months.

Range number of offspring: 500,000 to 2,000,000.

Average gestation period: 48 hours.

Range time to independence: 0 to 0 minutes.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 3 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 3 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (External ); broadcast (group) spawning; oviparous

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)

Sex: male:
730 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)

Sex: female:
730 days.

Once eggs are laid, adult striped mullet do not provide any further parental care (Texas Parks 2005).

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female)

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Spawns in fall or winter, depending on locality; sexually mature in 2-3 years (Manooch 1984, Moyle 1976).

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Female mullet reach sexual maturity in their fourth year, when they are between 40 - 42 cm (15.8 - 16.5 inches). Males mature in their third year, once they reach a size of 33 - 38 cm (13 - 15 inches). The minimum spawning size of females is between 31 - 34 cm (12.2 - 13.4 inches) (Apekin and Vilenskaya 1979). The general reproductive pattern of Mugil cephalus involves migration from either fresh or estuarine waters to offshore waters where they spawn in large schools. Larvae and prejuveniles then migrate to inshore estuaries where they inhabit shallow, warm water in the intertidal zone.Beginning in the early fall, large schools of mullet aggregate in the lower reaches of estuaries and at river mouths in preparation for offshore migration to spawning grounds. Environmental cues such as falling water temperatures, passage of cold fronts and falling barometric pressure are thought to trigger aggregation and subsequent migration (Mahmoudi 2000). Spawning occurs in deep, offshore waters from mid-October through late January, with peak spawning occurring in November and December (Ditty and Shaw 1996).Mugil cephalus are isochronal spawners, with all oocytes reaching maturity at the same time. However, based on the size of the female body cavity, it is unlikely that a female's entire store of eggs is hydrated at the same time in preparation for spawning. Rather, females are likely to hydrate eggs in batches (Thompson 1958, Render et al. 1995) and spawn on successive evenings until their supply of yolked eggs is depleted. Female fecundity ranges from 270,000 - 1.6 million eggs per individual per season (Render et al. 1995); absolute fecundity is between 2.9 - 16 million eggs (Apekin and Vilenskaya 1979).M. cephalus has a generally well defined and short recruitment period throughout its range. In South Africa, Bok (1979) found that recruitment of 0.15 - 0.40 cm (0.06 - 0.16 inches) fork length (FL) fry takes place from July to October, with fewer numbers in May, June and November. Chubb et al. (1981), studying mullet in Australia, found that, based on the first appearance of small juveniles between 0.20 - 0.30 cm (0.08 - 0.12 inches), spawning in Australia occurs between March and September. In Hawaii, the reproductive season of the striped mullet is between September and March (Kelly 1990). In Florida, M. cephalus spawns offshore from October through mid-January, with spawning completed by late February (Render et al. 1995, Ditty and Shaw 1996).Larvae become abundant in the waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico between November and December (Ditty and Shaw 1996) in water temperatures between 23-25° C. Tag returns along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast indicate that M. cephalus do not make extensive migrations in this region, but instead remain in a relatively small area and return to their original bay system after spawning (Funicelli 1989, Mahmoudi et al. 1989, Ditty and Shaw 1996).
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Spawning from July to October in the sea. One spawning aggregation with 4 males and one female was observed. The males pressed against the female as the 5 fish faced into a fairly strong tidal flow. Females spawn 5 to 7 million eggs. Sexually mature at 7 to 8 years.
  • Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953; Billard, R., 1997; Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983; Harrison, I.J., 1995; Keith, P., O.-Y. Le Bail and P. Planquette, 2000; Teugels, G.G., 1990; Thomson, J.M., 1986 ; Thomson, J.M., 1951.
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Egg Type: Pelagic, Pelagic larva
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Flathead mullet generally migrate offshore to spawn (Chang et al. 2004) In areas off southern China and Taiwan this occurs during December and January in surface waters that are between 20.0 and 23.0 ºC (Hsu et al. 2007).

References

Chang, C. W., Izuka, Y., Tzeng, W. N. 2004. Migratory environmental history of the greymullet Mugil cephalus as revealed by otolith Sr:Ca ratios. Marine Ecology ProgressSeries. 269: 277-288.

Hsu, C. C., Han, Y. S., Tzeng, W. N. 2007. Evidence of Flathead Mullet Mugil cephalus L. Spawning in Waters Northeast of Taiwan. Zoological Studies. 46(6): 717-725.

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Growth

The eggs of Mugil cephalus contain a single oil globule. Egg size varies according to location, and with water temperature. Apekin and Vilenskaya (1979) measured oocyte diameter in Black Sea M. cephalus as between 425 - 632 um. In Hawaii, Shehadeh et al. (1973) measured oocytes between 650-700 um., with mature eggs reaching up to 930 um. Kou et al (1974), in a later study, determined the egg size of Hawaiian mullet to range from 0.621 mm - 1.09 mm.Eggs are shed and fertilized in the water column, and hatch within 48 hours (Render et al. 1995). Newly hatched larvae of M. cephalus measure approximately 2.2 - 2.6 mm (0.87 - 1.0 inch) (Bensam 1987; Eda et al. 1990). Larval pigmentation consists of thick, stellate chromatophores covering the body, except in the posterior region. Additionally, larvae and early postlarvae of M. cephalus possess a midlateral row of stellate melanophores. This pigmentation pattern helps distinguish M. cephalus larvae from those of other mullet genera (Bensam 1987).The mouths of larval mullet are open by the second day of post hatch, with the yolksac fully absorbed by the fifth day. Active feeding begins prior to full absorption of the yolksac, as early as 70 hours post hatching, with young larvae beginning to take rotifers and microalgae as food. Adverse effects from withholding food become evident as early as 3.5 days after hatching. Larval mullet die within 192 hours (8 days) if not fed (Eda et al. 1990).
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Physiology and Cell Biology

Physiology

Mugil cephalus, flathead grey mullet, have a vast global distribution and commonly live in habitats, including coastal lagoons and estuaries, which tend to have a high variation in levels of oxygen, temperature, and salinity (Domenici et al. 2008, Wang et al. 2012). Several studies suggest that this species, and others in its family (Mugilidae) have high anaerobic capacity and are able to tolerate low oxygen conditions (Domenici et al. 2008). Flathead grey mullet are also an euryhaline fish, meaning they can tolerate a wide range of salinities, from freshwater to hypersaline ocean water (Cardona et al. 2000, Durand et al. 2009, Wang et al. 2012).

References

Cardona, L., Gisbert, E., and Torras, X. 2000. Cascading effects of the flathead grey mullet Mugil cephalus in freshwater eutrophic microcosmos. Hydrobiologia, 429: 49–57.

Domenici, P., Ferrari, R. S., Lefranc C., Satta, A. and Vagner, M. 2008. The effect of acutehypoxia on swimming stamina at optimal swimming speed in flathead grey mullet Mugil cephalus. Marine Biology, 155:183–190.

Durand, J. D., Jamandre, B. W., and Tzeng, W. N. 2009. Phylogeography of the flatheadmullet Mugil cephalus in the North-West Pacific as inferred from the mtDNA controlregion. Journal of Fish Biology, 75:393–407.

Wang, C. H., Hsu, C.C., Chang, C. W., You, C. F. and Wann-Nian Tzeng. 2010. The Migratory Environmental History of Freshwater Resident Flathead Mullet Mugil cephalus L. in theTanshui River, Northern Taiwan. Zoological Studies, 49:504-514.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Mugil cephalus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 42 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CTTTATCTAGTTTTCGGTGCCTGAGCGGGTATAGTAGGAACTGCTTTA---AGCCTACTTATCCGAGCAGAACTAAGTCAACCTGGCGCTCTCCTGGGGGAC---GACCAGATCTATAATGTCATTGTTACAGCCCACGCTTTCGTAATAATTTTCTTTATAGTAATGCCAATCATGATCGGGGGATTTGGAAATTGACTAGTCCCTCTAATG---ATCGGCGCCCCTGATATAGCCTTCCCTCGTATGAATAATATAAGCTTTTGACTTCTTCCTCCCTCATTCCTTCTCCTCTTAGCATCCTCTGGTGTAGAAGCGGGAGCTGGGACTGGCTGAACTGTCTATCCCCCTCTAGCCGGCAACTTGGCACATGCTGGAGCATCCGTTGACCTC---ACAATTTTCTCCCTCCATCTAGCAGGTGTCTCCTCAATTCTTGGTGCTATCAATTTTATTACAACTATCATCAACATGAAACCTCCCGCAATTTCCCAATACCAGACCCCACTCTTCGTATGGGCCGTTCTTATTACTGCCGTCCTCCTTCTCCTGTCCCTACCAGTTCTTGCTGCT---GGGATTACTATGCTCCTAACAGACCGAAACTTAAACACCTCTTTCTTCGACCCGGCAGGAGGGGGAGATCCTATTTTATATCAACACTTA------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TTC
-- end --

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Mugil cephalus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 171
Specimens with Barcodes: 238
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Mugil ashanteensis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Mugil ashanteensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Striped mullet are not listed as endangered or vulnerable with the World Conservation Union (IUCN), CITES, or the U.S. Endangered Species Act. These are common and abundant fish.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
Kottelat, M. & Freyhof, J.

Reviewer/s
Bogutskaya, N. & Smith, K.

Contributor/s
Larson, H. & Pippard, H.

Justification
This is a widespread species with no known major threats. It is listed as Least Concern.

History
  • 2008
    Least Concern
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed

CITES: Not listed
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Population

Population
This species is abundant in most areas, especially so in subtropical to warm temperate regions (less so in the tropics).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats currently known. Although it is a sought-after food fish, it is sold cultured as well as wild-caught. It forms half the commercial mullet catch in eastern Australia and Tonga (Harrison and Senou 1999).
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Least Concern (LC)
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species occurs in a number of protected areas within its world-wide range.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

No negative effects on humans have been reported for striped mullet.

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Striped mullet are regarded as an excellent food fish. They are also used as bait for a variety of fishes, including billfish, commonly bringing a higher price as bait than as food fish. These fish are prized for their roe. Striped mullet are marketed fresh, dried, salted, and frozen with the roe sold fresh or smoked. This fish is also used in Chinese medicinal practices. It is a very important commercial fish in many other parts of the world (Bester 2004).

Positive Impacts: food ; source of medicine or drug

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Economic Uses

Comments: The most important commercial mullet in the eastern U.S. (Robins and Ray 1986).

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Importance

fisheries: highly commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; bait: occasionally; price category: very high; price reliability: reliable: based on ex-vessel price for this species
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 1992 FAO yearbook 1990. Fishery statistics. Catches and landings. FAO Fish. Ser. (38). FAO Stat. Ser. 70:(105):647 p. (Ref. 4931)
  • Garibaldi, L. 1996 List of animal species used in aquaculture. FAO Fish. Circ. 914. 38 p. (Ref. 12108)
  • Harrison, I.J. 1995 Mugilidae. Lisas. p. 1293-1298. In W. Fischer, F. Krupp, W. Schneider, C. Sommer, K.E. Carpenter and V. Niem (eds.) Guia FAO para Identification de Especies para lo Fines de la Pesca. Pacifico Centro-Oriental. 3 Vols. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 9321)
  • Miyasaka, A. 1993 A database on scientific and common names of fishes exported from Hawaii. The information was derived from the above mentioned database. A printout of the names is also available from the State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Honolulu, Hawaii. (Ref. 5358)
  • Skelton, P.H. 1993 A complete guide to the freshwater fishes of southern Africa. Southern Book Publishers. 388 p. (Ref. 7248)
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Fisheries.Benefit in the IRL: M. cephalus is an important commercial and recreational fishery species in the Indian River Lagoon. Adult mullet are line caught as food fish and for roe, while juveniles are commonly used as bait for larger sportfish.Fisheries Importance:COMMERCIAL FISHERY: In the Western Atlantic, M. cephalus is commercially valuable on the east coast of Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico, especially in western Florida and Louisiana, where historically a large portion of the commercial catch consists of mullet (Render et al. 1995). Florida's fishery for mullet is primarily centered around fresh and smoked mullet, as well as roe harvesting for shipment to Asian markets (Render et al. 1995, Ditty and Shaw 1996).Mugil cephalus is one of the most important animal protein sources for people in the Pacific Basin, Southeast Asia, India, the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, Central America and South America (Nash 1978). It has gained popularity as a widely cultured food fish throughout Europe and Asia (Lee and Menu 1981).The striped mullet is a high value fishery species within Florida. The statewide commercial catch of Mugil cephalus between the years 1987 - 2001 was 232.9 million pounds, with a dollar value of over $115.2 million. Over the same time period within the 5 county area encompassing the IRL (Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin Counties) the commercial catch of M. cephalus accounts for approximately 10% of the statewide total, with a harvest of 23.9 million pounds, and a value in excess of $11 million.This ranks the striped mullet eleventh in commercial value within the IRL, and sixth in pounds harvested.Figure 1 and Table 1 below show the dollar value of the striped mullet fishery to IRL counties by year. As shown, commercial catch ranged from a low of $456,700 in 1991 to a high of over $1.1 million in 1994. Volusia County annually accounted for the largest percentage of the catch with approximately 39% of the total (Figure 2, Table 2), followed by Brevard County, which accounts for 23% of the total. Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin Counties account for approximately 14%, 15%, and 10% of the harvest respectively. Of interest is the change in the mullet harvest following implementation of the gill-net ban in 1995. With the exception of 1996, landings of mullet within IRL counties decreased, but have held at a relatively stable level, with a commercial value of approximately $600,00 annually. This trend is reflective of the mullet harvest throughout Florida. Mahmoudi (2000) reported that fishing effort was reduced 54% from 1995 - 1999 following the ban on gill-netting. RECREATIONAL FISHERY: Recreational fishery data for mullet have been collected from survey data within the 5-county area encompassing the Indian River Lagoon, and were provided by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Due to the high number of records for unidentified mullet, data for all members of the genus Mugil have been combined.The recreational fishery for mullet has grown in Indian River Lagoon counties since 1997, likely in response to the 1995 ban on commercial gill netting practices. Reduced fishing pressures on mullet have allowed stocks to rebound significantly (Mahmoudi 2000). As shown in Figures 3 and 4, the bulk of the recreational harvest of mullet was taken from the Indian River Lagoon (34.8%) and other inland waters (35.7%). Lesser numbers of mullet are harvested in nearshore waters less than 3 miles from the coast (25.8%), and from offshore waters to 200 miles (3.6%). Based on survey information, an average of 3.4 million mullet per year are harvested recreationally by anglers in the 5 county area that encompasses the Indian River Lagoon. Within the Lagoon itself, over 1.18 million mullet are harvested annually (Table 4). The harvest from inland waters other than the Indian River Lagoon rivals the catch from lagoon waters at 1.21 million fish per year, while the figures for the nearshore fishery and the offshore fishery drop to approximately 876,000 and 123,000 respectively.Cost in the IRL: Because much of the fishery for striped mullet targets gravid females prior to spawning, mullet may be susceptible to overfishing (Ditty and Shaw 1996) as they make the migration from the Indian River Lagoon to offshore waters.
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Mugil cephalus are very important in global aquaculture. Flathead mullet are harvested all over the world for food. They are taken as small fry or juveniles from estuaries and are raised in nursery ponds until they are harvested, when their weight is around 1 Kg. However, there are a number of fungi, bacteria, parasites, and viruses that can infect these fish on farms that can cause symptoms ranging from mild skin irritation to death. Antibiotics and pharmaceuticals have been developed to combat these diseases and prevent epidemics on fish farms (Fischer and Bianchi 2012).

References

Fischer, W. Bianchi, Mugil cephalus (Linnaeus, 1758). 2012. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/fishery/culturedspecies/Mugil_cephalus/en. Accessed 29 Sep 2012

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Wikipedia

Flathead mullet

The flathead grey mullet[2] (Mugil cephalus) is an important food fish species in the mullet family Mugilidae. It is found in coastal tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.[2] Its length is typically 30 to 75 centimetres (12 to 30 in).It is known with numerous English names, including the flathead mullet, striped mullet (US, American Fisheries Society name), black mullet, bully mullet, common mullet, grey mullet, sea mullet and mullet, among others.[3][1]

The flathead grey mullet is a mainly diurnal coastal species that often enters estuaries and rivers. It usually schools over sand or mud bottoms, feeding on zooplankton. The adult fish normally feed on algae in fresh water. The species is euryhaline meaning that the fish can acclimate to different levels of salinity.[4]

Description[edit]

The back of the fish is olive-green, sides are silvery and shade to white towards the belly.[2] The fish may have distinctive lateral horizontal stripes (6-7). Lips are thin.[2] The mullet has no lateral line. A common length is a bout 50 cm, and maximum length 100 cm.[2] Maximum weight of 8 kg has been mentioned.[4]

Range[edit]

The flathead mullet is cosmopolitan in coastal waters of the tropical, subtropical and temperate zones of all seas.[2] It occupies fresh, brackish and marine habitats in depths ranging between 0–120 metres (0–394 ft) and with temperatures between 8–24 °C (46–75 °F).[4]

Western US freshwater ocurrence[edit]

In freshwaters of the western United States, the striped mullet historically ranged far up the Colorado River to the vicinity of Blythe and up the Gila River to perhaps Tacna. Because of the dams and restricted flows to the Sea of Cortez, the range in Arizona is restricted to the Colorado River below Laguna Dam and the lower end of the Gila River when there is water present. They are often abundant in the mainstream and lateral canals in the Gila River region.[5]

In the Colorado River mullet are pelagic in larger pools, sometimes moving into currents below dams, and generally occurring in small groups.[4] The mullet populations are currently declining in Arizona, due to periods when the Colorado River does not reach the Sea of Cortez.

Fisheries and aquaculture[edit]

The flathead grey mullet is an important food fish around the world, and it is both fished and farmed. The reported worldwide catches from fishing in 2012 were about 130,000 tonnes and aquaculture production was 142,000 tonnes.[6]

Cuisine[edit]

Drying mullet roe in Taiwan.

The roe of this mullet is salted, dried, and compressed to make a specialty food across the world, such as Greek avgotaraho, Taiwanese Wuyutsu, Korean myeongran jeot, Japanese karasumi, Italian bottarga, Turkish Haviar and Egyptian batarekh. In Egypt, the fish itself is salted, dried, and pickled to make feseekh.

On the coast of Northwest Florida and Alabama, this mullet, called the striped or black mullet, is often a specialty of seafood restaurants. Fried mullet is most popular, but smoked, baked, and canned mullet are also eaten. Local fishermen usually catch mullet in a castnet, though some use a hook. Mullet is a delicacy in this area and is most often consumed in the home. Mullet are usually filleted, and the remaining frames used for fish stock, used in chowders and stews.[7] The mullet most commonly consumed in Florida however is the white mullet (Mugil curema), because its preference for cleaner water gives it a cleaner and less muddy taste.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kottelat, M. & Freyhof, J. 2012. Mugil cephalus The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. Downloaded on 01 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Mugil cephalus" in FishBase. April 2014 version.
  3. ^ Common names of Mugil cephalus FishBase (2014)
  4. ^ a b c d Minckley, W.L. 1973. Fishes of Arizona. Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix. pp. 257-258.
  5. ^ Animal abstract: Mugil cephalus ARIZONA GAME AND FISH DEPARTMENT
  6. ^ Mugil cephalus (Linnaeus, 1758) FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Species fact sheet.
  7. ^ Instituto Veneto di scienze, lettere ed arti environmental database on the pool of Venice
  8. ^ McKee, David (2008). Fishes of the Laguna Madre. College Station, Tx: Texas A&M University Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-60344-028-8. 
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Comments: Allozyme data indicate that mullet from both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida represent a single gene pool (Campton and Mahmoudi 1991).

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