Species Details

Details of Mullet will be displayed below


Common Name: Mullet
Scientific Name: Mugil cephalus
Local Name: Mekunu
Dhivehi Name: މެކުނު
Animalia  (Kingdom)
Chordata  (Plylum)
Mugiliformes  (Order)
Mugilidae  (Family)
Unknown   (Genus)

Mullet 's description

The mullets or grey mullets are a Family. (Mugilidae) of Ray-finned fish found worldwide in coastal temperate and tropical waters, and some species in fresh water. The family includes about 78 species in 20 genera.Mullets are distinguished by the presence of two separate Dorsal fins, small triangular mouths, and the absence of a Lateral line organ. They feed on Detritus, and most species have unusually muscular stomachs and a complex pharynx to help in digestion.

Mullet 's facts

  • Mullet has small head and triangular-shaped mouth. Teeth are miniature, compact and arranged in several rows. Lower jaw is shaped like a spade.
  • Mullet has elongated, stocky, torpedo-shaped body, short pectoral fins and forked tail.
  • Unlike most other types of fish, mullet doesn't have lateral line (organ which detects changes in the water currents).
  • Mullet belong to the group of ray-finned fish. It has two dorsal fins strengthened with rays. First dorsal fin has 5 sharp spines. Second dorsal fin is equipped with 8 soft rays.
  • Mullets are bottom-feeders (they feed on the sea floor). Their diet is based on algae, plankton, detritus and various aquatic vegetation.
  • Mullet is also known as "jumping" or "happy mullet" because it often jumps and vigorously skips across the surface of water. Scientists believe that this unusual behavior increases amount of oxygen in the mullet's body.
  • Mullets form large schools when they travel from the spawning to the wintering habitats.
  • Mating season of mullets depends on the geographic location.
  • Males and females release millions of eggs and sperm cells into the water, where fertilization takes place (external fertilization). Despite huge number of eggs, only few eggs manage to survive and hatch due to huge number of predators in the sea.
  • Adults often travel away from the shore to breed. Young fish return to the coast when they reach length of 1 inch.
  • Mullets reach sexual maturity at the age of two to four years

Mullet 's Behavior & Ecology

A common noticeable behavior in mullet is the tendency to leap out of the water. There are two distinguishable types of leaps: a straight, clean slice out of the water to escape predators and a slower, lower jump while turning to its side that results in a larger, more distinguishable, splash. The reasons for this lower jump are disputed, but have been hypothesized to be in order to gain oxygen rich air for gas exchange in a small organ above the pharynx.Mullets are surface dwelling fish, occurring predominantly in shallow coastal habitats, such as reefs, estuaries and mangrove. Some species are attracted to man-made structures such as boat jetties and marinas.

Mullet 's Feeding

Their mouths are small, and they feed on organic or algal detritus which is either taken from the surface, or is sifted from sandy or muddy substrates. They tend to advance into shallow waters with the rising tide, sometimes congregating at the mouths of small freshwater streams which discharge into mangrove areas. 

Mullet 's Reproduction

The striped mullet is 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 40-50 miles (65-80 km) offshore in water over 3,280 feet (1,000 m) deep. In other locations, spawning has been reported along beaches as well as offshore. Estimated fecundity of the striped mullet is 0.5 to 2.0 million eggs per female, depending upon the size of the individual.

The eggs are transparent and pale yellow, non-adhesive, and spherical with an average diameter of 0.72mm. Each egg contains an oil globule, making it positively buoyant. Hatching occurs about 48 hours after fertilization, releasing larvae approximately 2.4mm in length. These larvae have no mouth or paired fins. At 5 days of age, they are approximately 2.8mm long. The jaws become well-defined and the fin buds begin to develop. At 16-20mm in length, the larvae migrate to inshore waters and estuaries. At 35-45mm, the adipose eyelid is obvious, and by 50mm 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 0-35 ppt. They spend the remainder of their first year in coastal waters, salt marshes, and estuaries. In the end of Southwest (SW) monsoon, they often move to deeper water while the adults migrate offshore to spawn. However, some young mullet overwinter within the 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.

Mullet 's Conservation

Mullets are a abundant species in all areas of the Maldives.

Mullet 's Relationship with Humans

Mullet is Food fish all around the world.And it is  as well used as a Bait by the fishermans in maldives. It is an endemic fish to Maldives. It is Both fished and farmed for Commercial purpose.

Mullet habitat

This is a euryhaline, pelagic nearshore species, it sometimes forages in lagoons, estuaries and lower courses of rivers and can tolerate freshwater. It inhabits inshore marine waters, estuaries, lagoons and rivers where it can tolerate wide ranges of temperature and salinity. Adults are found in waters that range in temperature and salinity from 8 to 24°C, and 0 ppt to 75 ppt respectively. Juveniles are able to tolerate salinities from 0 ppt to 35 ppt (Bester 2004). It is capable of surviving temperatures ranging from 12-25°C (Harrison and Senou 1999). It is a benthopelagic, catadromous species that is usually found at a depth of zero to 10 m, but can be found as deep as 120 m (Moreira 1992, Harrison 1995, Riede 2004). It often enters estuaries and rivers and forms schools over sand or mud bottoms (Eschmeyer et al. 1983, Thompson 1986, Allen 1991, Yamada et al. 1995, Allen et al. 2002). Adults filter out organic detritus, microscopic algae, and small particulate materials by gulping sediment. It is mainly diurnal, feeding on zooplankton as larvae and detritus, micro-algae and benthic organisms as juvenile and adult fish (Blaber 1976, Tung 1981, Cardona 2000). Juveniles feed on zooplankton, larger individuals filter algae, detritus, sediment and small invertebrates. This species is also known for its leaping capabilities. It is an important prey item for sharks, dolphin, seals and birds (Heemstra and Heemstra 2004). 

Eggs are released in batches from May to September near estuaries where juveniles remain for up to three years (Bianchi et al. 1999). 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). Offspring are spawned offshore by schooling adults and fry eventually migrate inshore while feeding on zooplankton. 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 (Hill 2004). Species of Mugilidae are typically hardy and capable of rapid growth. Fricke et al. (2009) describes M. cephalus as a keystone species.

Spawning occurs in large groups and in deep waters far offshore (McEachran and Fechhelm 1998, Saleh 2013). It spawns in offshore waters of the Gulf of Mexico at depths of 40–1,650 m beyond the continental shelf 50–100 km off the coast (Ibáñez et al. 2012). It has an oviparous life cycle and practices a polyandrous mating system. Fecundity ranges from 270,000-1.6 million eggs per individual per season; absolute fecundity is between 2.9-16 million eggs. In Florida, M. cephalus spawns offshore from October through mid-January, with spawning completed by late February. Larvae become abundant in the waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico between November and December in water temperatures between 23-25°C. 

The lifespan of M. cephalus is estimated to be seven years for males and eight years for females, with an average of five years (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 2005). Individuals become sexually mature at around 32-50 cm in length and around two years in age (Saleh 2013). An African study indicates that this species reaches maturity at 39 cm for males and 42 cm for females, and likely begins reproduction in December (Ndour et al. 2013). Maximum standard length for this species is 120 cm male/unsexed (Thompson 1990), maximum reported weight for this species is 12 kg (Fadeev 2005), and maximum reported age for this species is 16 years (Thompson 1963).

Mullet threats

There are no major threats currently known at the global level. 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). Mugil cephalus is utilised commercially in subsistence fisheries in the Eastern Central Atlantic. Some mullets are utilised in aquaculture production along the eastern African coast, but it is unknown whether M. cephalus is specifically involved or not (Harrison in press). This species is caught in artisanal fisheries, and reported in mixed-catch for Mugilidae throughout the Eastern Central Atlantic, and has moderate value. In the Gulf of Mexico, this species is of high commercial importance to the roe industry, food fish, and is also taken as bait. It is overexploited in Mexico and Cuba, which represents at least half of its range in the Gulf. Subpopulations in U.S. waters (the remaining portion of its Gulf range) are stable with no overfishing expected to occur in the future. This species is also important to the aquaculture industry in Tabasco and Vera Cruz (M. Vega-Cendejas pers. comm. 2014). Robins and Ray (1986) report this species as the most important commercial mullet in the eastern United States. There is no evidence of overfishing in the 2010 Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute report and there is 35% SPR target. Mexico is one of the top ten productive countries of mullet in the world, with a mean annual production of approximately 12,000 tonnes/year, and a very valuable source of roe (Ibáñez et al. 2012). Subpopulations of M. cephalus are sensitive to human activities and are probably experiencing decline in the southwestern Indian Ocean due to fishery exploitation and dam construction in streams (Fricke et al. 2009). Besides overexploitation, this species is also threatened by river modifications where it ranges off Cuba (Claro et al. 2009). 

Mullet 's status