Sea Mullet, Mugil cephalus Linnaeus 1758


Other Names: Bully, Bully Mullet, Flathead Mullet, Grey Mullet, Hardgut Mullet, Hard-gut Mullet, Hardgut River Mullet, Mangrove Mullet, Poddies, Poddy Mullet, Poddy Mullet and Mullet, River Mullet, Sand Mullet, Striped Mullet

Sea Mullet, Mugil cephalus, in Sydney Harbour, New South Wales. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

Summary:

Bluish-grey to olive-brown above, and silvery-white or paler below, with a dark-bluish spot at the base of the pectoral fin.

Sea Mullet is currently thought to occur worldwide in tropical and subtropical coastal and estuarine waters. Recent molecular studies, however, indicate the Mugil cephalus may be a cryptic species complex.

Video of Sea Mullet scaling the Wolli fish ladder.


Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Mugil cephalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jan 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3880

Sea Mullet, Mugil cephalus Linnaeus 1758

More Info


Distribution

Widespread in tropical and subtropical waters of coastal and estuarine areas of all oceans. Sea Mullet can tolerate a wide salinity range and often move into lagoons, lakes and the upper reaches of estuaries. Adults migrates back to the sea to spawn. Although usually found inshore, Sea Mullet may occur well offshore in depths greater than 330 m.

Features

Meristic features.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: IV; I, 8-9
Anal fin spines/rays: III, 8
Caudal fin rays: 14
Pectoral fin rays: 16-17
Pelvic fin spines/rays: I, 5

Head and body: Body elongate, robust, moderately compressed, spindle-shaped; head small, dorsally broad and flat; snout short; mouth small, terminal, oblique; close-set row of slender monocuspid teeth in the edge of lips, three or four rows of bicuspid teeth in inner side of lips; adipose eyefold extensive over iris (except in specimens about 30 mm SL or less); posterior nostrils extending above level of upper rim of eye; anterior nostril entirely below vertical span of posterior; gill rakers long.
Scales pavement ctenoid, mucus canals straight, marked secondary squamation, no multicanaliculate scales; enlarged axillary scale at pectoral fin base; scales absent from head; mid-lateral scales 38-42; lateral line absent.
First dorsal fin origin on centre of back; 2nd dorsal fin opposite and similar in size and shape to anal fin; dorsal ray of pectoral fins developed as a short spur or ‘spine’ (not a true spine), not reaching origin of first dorsal fin; pectoral fins 16 to 21% standard length, 61 to 83% head length; upper insertion of pectoral fin at level of upper rim of eye; pelvic fins with I spine and 5 soft rays, inserted about midway between origins of pectoral fins and first dorsal fin.

Size

Sea Mullet may grow to more than 70 cm in length, although most are around 40 cm; maximum weight 8 kg.

Colour

Variable in colour depending on the habitat. Individuals in the ocean are bluish grey on the back and upper sides, and silvery-white below. Sea Mullet in estuarine areas are an olive-brown with a pale belly.

Feeding

Generally a bottom feeding detritivore. Juveniles feed on zooplankton and benthic amphipods and copepods. Adults often feed on algae covered rocks.

Biology

Mature Sea Mullet migrate along the coast or congregate in estuaries before moving offshore to spawn in surface waters over the continental shelf February to September depending on location. The pelagic larvae spend 2-3 months before moving back to estuarine and even freshwater areas at lengths of 2-3 cm. Fecundity is high with females producing between 300,000 and 7,200,000 pelagic eggs. Average egg diameter is 0.89 mm with an oil globule 0.39mm. Larvae are around 2.68 mm TL at hatching and feeding begins at 3-5 days post hatching

Fisheries

Sea Mullet are an important component of many coastal fishery and aquaculture programs.

Conservation

EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed

IUCN Red List : Least Concern

Species Citation

Mugil cephalus Linnaeus, C. (1758). Systema Naturae.  Holmiae : Salvii 10th Edn  824 pp. [316].
Type locality: European Ocean.

Author

Dianne J. Bray

Sea Mullet, Mugil cephalus Linnaeus 1758

References


Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. (2002). Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Crosetti, D., Avise, J.C., Placidi, F., Rossi, A.R. & Sola, L. 1993. Geographic variability in the grey mullet Mugil cephalus: preliminary results of mtDNA and chromosome analyses. Aquaculture 111: 95–101.

Crosetti, D., W.S. Nelson & J.C. Avise. 1994. Pronounced genetic structure of mitochondrial DNA among populations of the circumglobally distributed grey mullet (Mugil cephalus). J. Fish Biol. 44(1): 47–58.

Durand, J.-D., K.-N. Shen, W.-J. Chen, B.W. Jamandre, H. Blel, K. Diop, M. Nirchio, F.J. Garcia de León, A.K. Whitfield, C.-W. Chang, & P. Borsa. 2012. Systematics of the grey mullets (Teleostei: Mugiliformes: Mugilidae): Molecular phylogenetic evidence challenges two centuries of morphology-based taxonomy. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2012.03.006

Harrison, I.J. & Senou, H. (1999). Order Mugiliformes. In Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific.  Volume 4.  FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes.  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome pp. 2069–2790 [2096]

Kesteven, G.L. 1953. Further studies of tagging of sea mullet, Mugil cephalus on the eastern Australian coast. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 4: 251-306.

Kuiter, R.H. (1993). Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia.  Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437

Kuiter, R.H. (1994). Family Mugilidae. pp. 659–664 figs 578–581 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. (1983). Fishes of Tasmania.  Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp.

Livi, S., Sola, L. & Crosetti, D. 2011. Phylogeographic relationships among worldwide populations of the cosmopolitan marine species, the striped gray mullet (Mugil cephalus), investigated by partial cytochrome b gene sequences. Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 39: 121–131.

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. (1984). Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management.  Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp.

Rossi, A.R., Capula, M., Crosetti, D., Sola, L. & Campton, D.E. 1998. Allozyme variation in global populations of striped mullet, Mugil cephalus (Pisces: Mugilidae). Mar. Biol. 131: 203–212.

Thomson, J.M. 1954. The Mugilidae of Australia and adjacent seas. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 7: 70-131.

Thomson, J.M. 1955. The movement and migration of mullet Mugil cephalus(L.). Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 6: 328-347.

Thomson, J.M. 1963. Synopsis of biological information on the grey mullet (Mugil cephalus Linnaeus 1758). Fishery Synopsis 1. Division of Fisheries and Oceanography CSIRO, Australia.

Tung I.H. (1973) On the egg development and larval stages of the grey mullet, Mugil cephalus Linnaeus. Report of the Institute of Fishery Biology of Ministry of Economic Affairs and National Taiwan University. 3(1): 187-215

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37381002

Feeding:Detritivore

Habitat:coastal marine, entering freshwater

Max Size:70 cm

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