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Great mullet (Mugil cephalus)

Great mullet ( Mugil cephalus )

Spinefish (Acanthopterygii)
Perch relatives (Percomorphaceae)
Order : Mugiliformes
Family : Mullets
Scientific name of the  order
Günther , 1880
Scientific name of the  family
Cuvier , 1829

The family of Mullets (Mugilidae) lives with nearly 80 species in 27 genera worldwide in tropical and subtropical regions of seashores and in brackish water . Some species also migrate to rivers. For example, Liza abu lives exclusively in fresh water, in the Indus , in the rivers of Iran , in the Euphrates and in the Tigris . Some species are of economic importance as food fish.

The roe of the mullet is true, dried and salted, in Japan ( karasumi ), Italy ( bottarga ) and southern France (Poutargue) are a specialty.


Mullets have an elongated, strong build. The side of the fish is covered by large, silvery, shiny ctenoid scales. Only the genus Myxus has cycloid scales . The short first dorsal fin has four spine rays . The second dorsal fin, separated by a large space, is also short and supported by eight to ten soft rays. The anal fin has two to three spiked and seven to eleven soft rays. The pectoral fins stand high up on the body, the pelvic fins supported by one hard and five branched soft rays on the underside of the body, far in front, but always clearly behind the pectoral fins. The lateral line organ is regressed or completely absent. The head of the mullet is flat above, the mouth is terminal and small, teeth are also small or absent. Your intestines are very long and reach eight times their body length. This length is necessary to process the predominantly vegetable food. Mullets reach lengths of ten centimeters to one meter.

External system

The systematic position of the mullets remained a mystery for a long time. They were therefore classified within the barnacles in their own order, the Mugiliformes; other scientists count the mullets to the perch-like (Perciformes).

In various more recent phylogenetic studies, surprisingly, families from the perch-like order were identified as the sister group of the mullet, first the dwarf perch (Pseudochromidae) and later the miracle perch (Plesiopidae). Both families are probably closely related and form a group of related families with other fish families living in tropical coral reefs , which was given the provisional German name "Zwergbarschweise" by the underwater photographers Rudie H. Kuiter and Helmut Debelius . The mullets, the earfish relatives, the "dwarf perch-like" and some other taxa related to them are summarized in a current revision of the bony fish systematics to the taxon ovalentaria .


Relationships within the mullets according to Xia, Durand, and Fu 2016.



























Thick-lipped mullet ( Chelon labrosus )

Subfamilies and genera of the mullet:

Selected species


Individual evidence

  1. DH Setiamarga, M. Miya, Y. Yamanoue, K. Mabuchi, TP Satoh, JG Inoue, M. Nishida: Interrelationships of Atherinomorpha (medakas, flyingfishes, killifishes, silversides, and their relatives): The first evidence based on whole mitogenome sequences. In: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Volume 49, Issue 2, November 2008, pp. 598-605. doi: 10.1016 / j.ympev.2008.08.008
  2. Blaise Li, Agnès Dettaï, Corinne Cruaud, Arnaud Couloux, Martine Desoutter-Meniger, Guillaume Lecointre: RNF213, a new nuclear marker for acanthomorph phylogeny. In: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Volume 50, Issue 2, February 2009, pp. 345-363. doi: 10.1016 / j.ympev.2008.11.013
  3. Rudie H. Kuiter, Helmut Debelius: Atlas of the sea fish. Kosmos Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-440-09562-2 , p. 321.
  4. Ricardo Betancur-R., Richard E. Broughton, Edward O. Wiley, Kent Carpenter, J. Andrés López, Chenhong Li, Nancy I. Holcroft, Dahiana Arcila, Millicent Sanciangco, James C Cureton, Feifei Zhang, Thaddaeus Buser, Matthew A. Campbell, Jesus A Ballesteros, Adela Roa-Varon, Stuart Willis, W. Calvin Borden, Thaine Rowley, Paulette C. Reneau, Daniel J. Hough, Guoqing Lu, Terry Grande, Gloria Arratia, Guillermo Ortí: The Tree of Life and a New Classification of Bony Fishes. In: PLOS Currents Tree of Life. 18. Apr 2013. Edition 1. doi: 10.1371 / currents.tol.53ba26640df0ccaee75bb165c8c26288 , (PDF) ( Memento of the original from October 13, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. a b Rong Xia, Jean-Dominique Durand, Cuizhang Fu: multilocus resolution of Mugilidae phylogeny (Teleostei: Mugiliformes): Implications for the family's taxonomy. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Volume 96, March 2016, doi: 10.1016 / j.ympev.2015.12.010

Web links

Commons : Mugilidae  - Collection of images, videos and audio files