Range/Geographical Distribution: Nova Scotia to Brazil, absent from the Bahamas, the West Indies, and the Caribbean. Found almost worldwide in warm waters.
Habitat: Coastal waters and estuaries.
Description: Brown, greenish, or bluish above and silvery on the sides. Dark spots form 6-7 conspicuous stripes on the sides. Head flat between the eyes.
Size: Can reach 20 inches in length.
Food: Zooplankton as larvae and benthic organisms, micro-algae, and detritus as juveniles and adults.
Breeding: Females reach sexual maturity by four years of age and males by three years of age. Spawning occurs in offshore waters from October through January. Each female may release up to 1.6 million eggs per spawning season. After hatching, mullet larvae migrate to estuaries and inhabit shallow, warm waters in the intertidal zone.
Predators: Fish, marine mammals, and birds.
Conservation Status: Listed as least concern by the IUCN.
Interesting facts: Striped mullet are the most important commercial mullet in the United States. They are sold fresh, dried, salted, or frozen. Also used in Chinese medicinal practices.
On the Coast: Large schools of mullet can be found along Georgia’s coast and may be seen leaping from the water. These fish are a favorite of the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)