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Thread: Mullet

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    Admin denise's Avatar
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    Mullet

    There are more than 60 species of mullet worldwide, but only 7 found throughout fresh and marine water habitats of North America. Mullets are primarily seawater dwellers (they are born here), but many make their way to shallow coastal waters and inwards to rivers, streams and springs afterwards.

    In Florida, both striped and white mullet are very common, often spotted in springs, where they are usually seen feeding in large schools. Mullet are bottom feeders, eating all types of vegetation, algae and plankton. They are very active fish, often traveling long distances to find food, and are often spotted leaping up out of the water, and skipping along the surface.


    School of striped mullet, Mugil cephalus, in the run at Blue Springs, Central Florida

    Large schools of striped mullet are common in Blue Springs. They swim near the surface over sandy river run, usually along the sides. They feed and live most their lives in the river run, but return to the ocean to spawn. They are often spotted leaping out of the water into the air, probably to avoid predators. Another reason for this may be that the water they are in is low in dissolved oxygen, and by quickly exit the water they clear their gills and expose them to higher levels of oxygen.

    Striped mullet have many predators, especially in the ocean; larger fish, pelicans, dolphins will all take striped mullet. Along the coast of Florida, sharks will often feed on large striped mullet. They are also sought after for human consumption, but since a net ban on striped mullet was introduced in the state of Florida in 1995, striped mullet numbers had increased, and their stocks are now recovering.
    Last edited by denise; 04-20-2009 at 09:47 AM.
    Denise Byrne
    Marine Biologist/OW, Tech and Cave Instructor
    denise@dayo.com
    Orlando, Florida

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