Why do mullet jump? We’ll tell you
When you are out on your boat or by the back bays its common to see a fish leap out of the water and land back in with a splash. That’s most likely a mullet. Mullet (Mugil cephalus) are common jumpers and there are several theories about this behavior.
Some scientists believe they leap from the water when pursued by predators. Others say it is to shake off clinging parasites. Some experts believe they do it during spawning season to break open their egg sacks as they prepare to spawn. One scientific paper done on the mullet points to mullet jumping to seek more oxygen.
Whatever the reason these fish will jump as high as three feet and then fall back into the water on their sides.
Mullet are a bluish-gray color or green on top with shades of silver on the sides with horizontal black barrings. The belly is white. They have two separate dorsal fins, a blunt nose and a small triangular mouth.
These striped mullet are commonly found in the back bays and other inshore areas. They are found throughout the state in coastal rivers, tidal creeks, bays, estuaries and along sandy beaches.
This fish is found worldwide. They are seen in the Gulf of Mexico and from Nova Scotia to Brazil in the western Atlantic. In the eastern Atlantic they live from the Bay of Biscay in France to South Africa and in the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. They are also found in the eastern Pacific Ocean from Southern California to Chile.
Mullets have been an important food source in Mediterranean Europe since Roman times.
They feed on algae, detritus and other tiny marine invertebrates. These fish usually swim in large schools and are speedy swimmers. They regularly grow to one to three pounds, but can reach more than 10 pounds.
Adults migrate offshore to spawn. The juveniles migrate inshore when they are about one inch in size.