White Mullet

Mugil curema

Photo of a white mullet fish in a person's hands

Image by Jonathan Freedman, United States Geological Survey, public domain

Physical: One of two mullet species in the Barnegat Bay. Blue-green on top, silver elsewhere. Blue-black blotch on the base of the pectoral (side) fin. Closely resembles the striped mullet, but lacks stripes and has a bronze blotch on the gills. Adults grow up to 15 in (38.1 cm).

Habitat: Massachusetts to Bermuda, northern Gulf of Mexico to southeastern Brazil. Also found on the Horn of Africa (Senegal River to Namibia) and the Gulf of California. White mullet prefer sandy coastline, muddy lagoon, estuary, and sometimes coral reefs environments. They are transient to the Barnegat Bay, meaning they only live here for part of the year.

Feeding: White mullet are filter feeders who feed on algae and plankton. Often used as bait fish.

Breeding: Spawning season takes place from March to August. Spawning adults will gather together in estuaries in March and swim out to the continental shelf. Females release several million eggs, which float in the water until they hatch. Juveniles will live in estuaries until maturity.

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