Largescale Mullet, Liza macrolepis (Smith 1846)

Other Names: Large-scaled Mullet

Largescale Mullet, Liza macrolepis. Source: John E. Randall / via CSIRO & Atlas of Living Australia. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial

A greenish-grey mullet becoming silvery below, fins grey to bluish with dusky margins and often yellowish at the base, a golden-yellow pectoral-fin base often with a dark spot, and a rudimentary axillary scale.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Liza macrolepis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,

Largescale Mullet, Liza macrolepis (Smith 1846)

More Info


Broome, WesternAustralia, to Darnley Island, Torres Strait, Queensland. Elsewhere the species is common and widespread in the Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa, east to French Polynesia, north to Japan and the Northern Marianas Islands.
Forms schools in shallow brackish and coastal waters, and the lower freshwater parts of rivers. 


Feeds on small algae, diatoms, forams, polychaetes, crustaceans, molluscs, organic matter and detritus.


Forms larger aggregations to spawn at sea.


The species is fished throughout its range.


May be confused with other species such as Liza melinoptera and L. subviridis.

Species Citation

Mugil macrolepis Smith 1847. Illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa vol. 4:  unnumbered page, pl. 28 fig. 2. Type locality: rivers and fresh water lakes of South Africa.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Largescale Mullet, Liza macrolepis (Smith 1846)


Allen, G.R. 1991. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of New Guinea. Madang : Christensen Research Institute 268 pp.

Blaber, S.J.M., Young, J.W. & Dunning, M.C. 1985. Community structure and zoogeographic affinities of the coastal fishes of the Dampier region of north-western Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 36: 247-266,

Durand, J.-D. & Borsa, P. 2015. Mitochondrial phylogeny of grey mullets (Acanthopterygii: Mugilidae) suggests high proportion of cryptic species. Comptes Rendus Biologies 338(4): 266-277.

Durand, J.-D., Shen, K.-N., Chen, W.-J.,  Jamandre, B.W., Blel, H, Diop, K., Nichio, M., Garcia de León, F.J., Whitfield, A.K., Chang, C-W. & Borsa, P. 2012. Systematics of the grey mullets (Teleostei: Mugiliformes: Mugilidae): Molecular phylogenetic evidence challenges two centuries of morphology-based taxonomy. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 64: 73-92.

Harrison, I.J. & Senou, H. 1999. Order Mugiliformes. pp. 2069-2790 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790. 

Hitchcock, G., 2002. Fish Fauna of the Bensbach river, southwest Papua New Guinea. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 48(1): 119-122.
Hoese, D. 2018. Planiliza macrolepis (amended version of 2012 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T166856A128736740. Downloaded on 30 June 2020.

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Senou, H., Randall, J.E. & Okiyama, M. 1996. Chelon persicus, a new species of mullet (Perciformes, Mugilidae) from the Persian Gulf. Bulletin of the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum (Natural Science) 25: 71-78 (as Chelon macrolepis)

Smith, A. 1847. Illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa; consisting chiefly of figures and descriptions of the objects of natural history collected during an expedition into the interior of South Africa, in the years 1834, 1835 and 1836. Pisces. London : Smith, Elder & Co. Vol. 4 83 pp. 31 pls. See ref at BHL

Thomson, J.M. 1997. The Mugilidae of the world. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 41(3): 457-562 fig. 1

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37381019

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-20 m

Habitat:Freshwater, estuaries, coastal waters

Max Size:60 cm SL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map