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Species guide

Striped mullet

Scientific name: Mugil cephalus

DESCRIPTION:

The striped mullet is an animal with a prominent head. The dorsal fins are short and triangular and the caudal fin is large and forked. It is blue-grey and the sides have a series of longitudinal lines; the belly is white with silver reflections.

Its maximum size is 50 cm and it can weigh up to half a kilo.

BIOLOGY:

The striped mullet is a gregarious fish that likes to go round in large groups.

It has omnivorous feeding habits, and feeds on detritus, algae and invertebrates.

Its reproduction is oviparous. The males reach sexual maturity at 2 or 3 years of age, and the females at 3 or 4. The reproduction period goes from July to October. The females lay between 2.5 and 7.7 million eggs. When the reproduction period begins they go to sea to spawn (lay their eggs) and then go back to the lagoons. Within a few weeks of being born, the fry go into the continental waters.

HABITAT:

They live on sandy, detritus or rocky beds from the surface to over 300 m. They are animals highly tolerant to changes in salinity; we find them in from hyper saline waters to entirely fresh water. They are also able to withstand very high temperatures and a certain amount of organic pollution, which means this is a very common species in coastal waters and ports.

DISTRIBUTION:

This species colonises both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

STATUS:

Species not evaluated (according to the red list of threatened species).

CURIOSITIES:

Previously smoked, the gonads may be used as a substitute for caviar.