The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Valamugil engeli
Valamugil engeli
Marine Fishes

Copyright Info
Valamugil engeli (Bleeker, 1858-59)

Common name: kanda

Synonyms and Other Names: kanda mullet, Australian mullet, summer mullet

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Valamugil engeli is a smaller bodied mullet that is silvery in color, turning slightly dusky dorsally. This species has a forked caudal fin with a narrow black margin; the dorsal fins are equally high (Randall 2003). It has thin lips that are directed forward with tiny teeth on the edge of the lips that may be absent in adults (Randall 2003).

Size: to 15 cm standard length (Myers 1989)

Native Range: Valamugil engeli range in the Indo-Pacific region from East Africa and the Red Sea to southern Japan, Micronesia, and the Marquesas (Mundy 2005).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Valamugil engeli was Introduced to Oahu, Hawaii in 1955 (Hourigan 1989). It has established and spread to all islands of Hawaii (Mundy 2005).

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Valamugil engeli are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
HI195520173Hawaii; Hawaii; Oahu

Table last updated 2/27/2023

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Valamugil engeli is found in small schools along sandy shores, reef flats, shallow lagoons and estuaries (Myers 1989, Randall 2003); juveniles move between marine and freshwater habitats (Julius 2007). This species feeds primarily on a variety of algal species (Julius 2007). Schemmel et al. (2019) found that V. engeli spawn year round in Hawaii and reproduce at a smaller size (140 mm SL) and younger age than native mullet species with an estimated generational turnover of seven months.

Juveniles have been found living in 40°C water in tidepools (Myers 1989).

Means of Introduction: Inadvertenly stocked along with a shipment of Marquesan sardines from the Marquesas in 1955 (Randall 1987).

Status: Established.

Impact of Introduction: Randall (1987) suggests that the kanda may be competing with a commercially important mullet, Mugil cephalus in Hawaii.

The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: Akiona et al. (2022) analyzed the diet of the Great Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) in a historically and culturally important fishpond in Kane’ohe Bay, Hawaii and found V. engeli composed the majority of its diet (62.8%) even when several native species were present.

References: (click for full references)

Akiona, A.K., B.N. Popp, R.J. Toonen, M.C. Siple, K. Kotubetey, H. Kawelo, and E.C. Franklin. 2022. Predatory fish diets shift towards an invasive mullet in a traditional Hawaiian aquaculture system. Aquaculture, Fish, and Fisheries 2022:1-14.

Julius, M.L. 2007. Why sweat the small stuff: the importance of microalgae in Hawaiian stream ecosystems. Biology of Hawaiian Streams and Estuaries 3:183-193.

Mundy, B.C. 2005. Checklist of Fishes of the Hawaiian Archipelago: volume 6 Bishop Museum Bulletins in Zoology, Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

Myers, R.F. 1989. Micronesian reef fishes: A practical guide to the identification of the coral reef fishes of the tropical central and western Pacific. Coral Graphics, Guam, USA.

Randall, J.E. 1987. Introductions of marine fishes to the Hawaiian Islands. Bulletin of Marine Science 41:490-502.

Randall, J.E. 2003. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific: New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

Schemmel, E., K. Kamikawa, T. Shimoda, and K.A. Peyton. 2019. The life history of the invasive mullet, Osteomugil engeli (Bleeker, 1858) in Hawaiian estuaries. Environmental Biology of Fishes 102:553-568.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Brown, M.E., and Schofield, P.J.

Revision Date: 10/25/2022

Peer Review Date: 9/16/2011

Citation Information:
Brown, M.E., and Schofield, P.J., 2023, Valamugil engeli (Bleeker, 1858-59): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=790, Revision Date: 10/25/2022, Peer Review Date: 9/16/2011, Access Date: 4/1/2023

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2023]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [4/1/2023].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted.

For general information and questions about the database, contact Wesley Daniel. For problems and technical issues, contact Matthew Neilson.