Striped Mullet

Mugil cephalus

Picture of a flathead grey mullet, lain on a white paper backdrop

Image by ‘’ on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0”

Physical: The striped mullet has a blue-green back and silvery sides and belly. Its scales form horizontal streaks across its sides and a dark blotch near its pectoral fins. It has two dorsal fins, the first with four spines, the second with soft rays.

Habitat: The striped mullet is present along the coasts of all seas, except for arctic regions. In North America, their range spans from Canada through Cape Cod to the southern Gulf of Mexico, except for the Bahamas and the Caribbean. They can tolerate a wide range of salinities, from fresh to brackish to marine. Adults will school together, and prefer areas with sandy or mud bottoms.

Feeding: Adults feed on detritus, algae, and benthic organisms. Juveniles feed on zooplankton.

Breeding: Spawning occurs at sea, when adults school together and migrate offshore. The spawning season for NJ takes place from June to August. Females lay anywhere from 800,000 to 2.6 million eggs. Larvae eventually migrate back inshore as juveniles.

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