Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Mugil cephalus, Flathead Mullet, Striped Mullet

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

body robust, depth at D origin 24-28%SL
D2 origin just behind A origin
top teeth: outer row 1 point
pectoral not reaching D1
A: III, 8
D2 & A: scales front base only
lateral scales 37-43

Mugil cephalus Linnaeus, 1758

Striped Mullet, Flathead Mullet

Moderately elongate, robust body, depth at origin of dorsal fin 24-28% of SL; head same as or deeper than wide at level of end of operculum; head wide, flat on top; 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 with one point inner 1-6 rows with 2 points; upper lip with tiny teeth; two short, widely spaced dorsal fins, IV + l, 8, origin of 2nd dorsal fin just behind origin of anal fin; anal fin III, 8; pectorals high on body, 1st ray hard, i, 15-16, 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 38 (37-43), 13-15 in transverse series, 19-20 around base of tail; second dorsal and anal fins with small scales on front of base only; no lateral line.

Olive on back, silvery on sides, and white below; 7-10 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, in inshore marine waters plus estuaries, lagoons and rivers.

Depth: 0-20 m, usually nearshore.

Circumglobal in tropical and temperate seas; Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and NW Caribbean.

Note: Genetic analyses indicate that this comprises at least 14, mainly allopatric, species, worldwide.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Water column
  • Beach
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Detritivore
  • Omnivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Detritus
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Phytoplankton
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 135
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 20