A Mullet's Life

Mullet is a coastal species that often enters estuaries and freshwater environments. Adult mullet have been found in waters ranging from 0 ppt to 75 ppt salinity while juveniles can only tolerate such wide salinity ranges after they reach lengths of 1.6-2.8 inches (4-7 cm). Adults form huge schools near the surface over sandy or muddy bottoms and dense vegetation. They migrate offshore to spawn in large aggregations. The larvae move inshore to extremely shallow water which provides cover from predators as well as a rich feeding ground.


After reaching 2 inches (5 cm) in length, these young mullet move into slightly deeper waters. Striped mullet leap out of the water frequently. Biologists aren’t sure why these fish leap so often, but it could be to avoid predators. Another possibility is that the fish spend much time in areas that are low in dissolved oxygen. They may quickly exit the water in order to clear their gills and be exposed to higher levels of oxygen.