Stripped Mullet


Geographic Location

The striped mullet is cosmopolitan throughout coastal tropical to warm temperate waters. In the western Atlantic Ocean, it is found from Nova Scotia, Canada south to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico. It is absent in the Bahamas and the Caribbean Sea. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, the striped mullet occurs from the Bay of Biscay (France) to South Africa, including the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. The eastern Pacific Ocean range includes southern California south to Chile.


This is a coastal species that often enters estuaries and freshwater environments.Adults form huge schools near the surface over sandy or muddy bottoms and dense vegetation. They migrate offshore to spawn in large aggregations. The larvae move inshore to extremely shallow water which provides cover from predators as well as a rich feeding ground. After reaching 2 inches in length, these young mullet move into slightly deeper waters. Striped mullet leap out of the water frequently. Biologists aren't sure why these fish leap so often, but it could be to avoid predators. Another possibility is that the fish spend much time in areas that are low in dissolved oxygen. They may quickly exit the water in order to clear their gills and be exposed to higher levels of oxygen.

Food Habits

Mullet are diurnal feeders, consuming mainly zooplankton, dead plant matter, and detritus. Mullet have thick-walled gizzard-like segments in their stomach along with a long gastrointestinal tract that enables them to

Importance to Humans

Along the Florida gulf coast, the striped mullet is regarded as an excellent food fish. They are also used as bait for a variety of fishes, including billfish, commonly bringing a higher price as bait than as food fish. In fresh and brackish waters, they are caught with a hook and line. Popular bait includes earthworms, oatmeal, and chicken feed. Mullet caught in freshwater often have a muddy or sulfide-like taste. In saltwater areas, mullet are snagged with hooks or captured with cast nets, seines, gill nets, or trammel nets. Large numbers of mullet are taken during the migration to spawning grounds offshore. These fish are prized for their roe. The striped mullet is marketed fresh, dried, salted, and frozen with the roe sold fresh or smoked. This fish is also used in Chinese medicinal practices. It is a very important commercial fish in many other parts of the world.