Grey mullets (family Mugilidae)
Though the popular name ‘mullets’ generally refers to the species of the
family Mugilidae, the name grey mullet is used to distinguish them from the red
mullets of the family Mullidae. The taxonomic classification of the grey mullets
has been rather confusing, and the many revisions of the family have not made
it any easier for aquaculturists to identify the various species. Jhingran and
Gopalakrishnan (1974) have listed 13 valid species belonging to the genus
Mugil and one species of the genus
Rhinomugil which have been used in aquaculture. Though some authors have
used the generic name Liza, based on
the extent of development of the adipose eyelids, others consider this
classification invalid as this characteristic is not of diagnostic value
(Pillay, 1962). The other genus considered valid, namely Rhinomugil, is represented by the species Rhinomugil corsula, which is of some importance in Indian fish
culture. So in the following account of grey mullet culture the candidate
species will be treated as belonging to the two genera, Mugil and Rhinomugil.
The most widely distributed and well-known species of grey mullet is Mugil cephalus, some-times referred to
as the striped mullet (fig. 21.1). Because of the fast growth rate and the
comparatively large size of the adults, this has been the species of
choice in all areas. But fry and fingerlings of M. cephalus are not as abundantly available as those of the other
species. So in countries bordering the Mediterranean, M. capito, M. auratus (fig.
21.2), M. saliens (fig.21.3) and M. chelo are also utilized in extensive
or intensive farming. Other species used in the Indo-Pacific region are M. parsia (= dussumieri), M. tade, M. macrolepis, M. so-iuy and R. corsula.
Additional species of importance inSouth America are M. curema and M.
brasilien-sis. Experimental work in West Africa hasalso included the
species M. falcipinnis and M. grandisquamis.