|Scientific Name:||Mugil cephalus|
|Environment:||Inshore, Nearshore, Surf|
|Ideal Temp:||52-75°F (11-24°F)|
|Lure Type:||Bottom Rig|
|World Record:||4.71 kg (10 lb 6 oz) Upper Laguna Madre, Texas, USA 13-Mar-2009|
|Other Names:||striped mullet, gray mullet, grey mullet, jumping mullet|
The Striped Mullet, also known as “jumping mullet”, has two widely spaced dorsal fins and a large eye parallel with their mouths. The back is bluish-gray or green, shading to silvery sides and a white belly. They also have many thin horizontal stripes along their side. The second dorsal fin starts over the beginning of the anal fin. A similar species that can be seen in the springs is the white mullet, also known as “silver mullet.” White mullets are easily confused with striped mullet but tend to be smaller, shiny silver in color, lack stripes, and have a dusky black edge to their tails.
Striped mullet is common worldwide in warm to temperate coastal waters. 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. The striped mullet's diet includes zooplankton, benthic (bottom-dwelling) organisms and detritus (dead plants and animals), and small invertebrates. Mullet can also be seen picking up mud off the bottom, which they filter with their gill rakers and inner teeth, then spit it back out. They are common worldwide in warm waters and can tolerate a large range of salinity, so you may see them in salt water as well as in the springs. They reach sexual maturity in three years. Mature adults leave the bays, collect in large schools, and migrate offshore to mate.
During spawning season, females scatter one to seven million round eggs on the bottom. Eggs are not guarded by adults. After an incubation period of 36 to 50 hours, depending on water temperature, the young mullet hatch. Of millions of eggs spawned in offshore waters, most are eaten by other species. Juveniles return to coastal locations to mature after they have reached 15 to 32 mm long. Their lifespan 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.
Striped mullet tend to school together for protection from predators. They are often seen jumping out of the water. They are a favorite bait among Red Drum (redfish) and Speckled Trout fishermen. Mullet are also frequently consumed by humans for the flesh and roe (eggs). It is often salted and or smoked and can contain oily meat.
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