Louisiana Fisheries
Current NewsAbout UsBiological InfoManagement InfoHabitat Info
Louisiana Fisherman Professionalism ProgramAquaculture InfoLegal & Socio-Economic Issues
Fisheries & PeopleResources & PublicationsFisheries FAQsSearch
LSU AgCenter Louisiana Sea Grant Louisiana Fisheries Louisiana Fisheries

Home > Biological Info > Striped Mullet

Biological Info: Striped Mullet

Striped Mullet

Scientific Name:
Mugil cephalus
Common Names:
Jumping Mullet, Jumping Jack, Popeye Mullet, Mullet, Lisa, Black Mullet
Range & Habitat:
Found Gulfwide in estuaries and shallow offshore waters. They will enter 400-600 feet of water offshore to spawn in November and December, and will penetrate rivers for many miles during the summer months. They can be found at all levels in the water column, from the surface to the bottom.
Identification & Biology:
The body is cylindrical and torpedo-shaped, the dorsal fins are widely separated and the eye is large. Striped mullet are silvery-green on the back and silver on the sides and belly. On fish 6 inches or so long and longer, prominent black stripes extend the length of the fish. Smaller fish, without the stripes, closely resemble the white mullet. The two may be differentiated by striped mullet that having 8 soft rays in the anal fin compared to 9 in the white mullet.

When striped mullet spawning season nears in the fall, large schools of mature fish stage in lower estuaries before making the 40-50 mile spawning run offshore. In the Gulf of Mexico, spawning begins in October and extends into January, with a peak in November and December. During these spawning runs, offshore predator fish gorge on the fat, egg-laden fish. The eggs and larvae are carried by currents and tides, with many ending up in estuaries, where they spend their first year. Both juvenile and adult striped mullet feed on algae, microscopic organisms, and detritus that is extracted from the large amounts of sand and mud that they consume. Striped mullet of all sizes are schooling fish and are individually prone to make multiple leaps clear of the water.
Most striped mullets are under 3 pounds although larger fish are often found. The largest on record is a 14-pound fish taken from a landlocked freshwater pond in Texas.
Food Value:
Good overall, but the flesh is very oily, which makes it a poor candidate for some preparation styles, such as frying. Fish taken from freshwater are generally considered poorer table fare than fish from saline waters. Striped mullet are excellent when smoked; their roe is also considered to be very good by some. Striped mullet are excellent bait fish. Small finger-size mullets are good live bait for spotted seatrout, small to medium red drum and southern flounder. Anglers often use cast nets to target small striped mullets for use as live bait. Larger fish, either used whole or as cut bait are effective bait for large red drum and offshore predator fish.

< Back to Main


Louisiana Fisheries Louisiana Sea Grant LSU AgCenter