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Flathead mullet

Flathead mullet

(Mugil cephalus)

The flathead or “striped” mullet is a common fish in subtropical and warm temperate coastal areas throughout the world. It is found in inshore marine and estuarine water, as well as in rivers near the sea. This mullet forms large schools over sandy or muddy bottoms and also can be seen swimming over reefs in clear water.

Young flathead mullet are an important prey for many larger fish, birds and marine mammals. Mullet are an important commercial species worldwide and the flathead mullet is raised in freshwater ponds in Southeast Asia.

Look for the flathead mullet in the habitats in the Georgia Explorer gallery. They can also been seen in the Ocean Voyager galley.

Fun Facts

  • The flathead mullet feeds by picking up a mouthful of silt, filtering out the organic material and dropping the inorganic sediment back on the bottom.
  • It has a thick-walled gizzard that grinds up its food into small pieces.
  • This fish can often be seen jumping out of the water at random. No one knows why.
  • Mullet-related fossils dating back 30 to 40 million years have been found.
  • Ancient Hawaians caught small mullet and placed them in rock-walled ponds to raise for food.
  • Download full fact sheet

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