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.

Mugil cephalus
Mugil cephalus
(Striped Mullet)
Marine Fishes
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Mugil cephalus Linnaeus, 1758

Common name: Striped Mullet

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Miller and Lea (1972); Eschmeyer et al. (1983); Robins and Ray (1986); Etnier and Starnes (1993); Fischer et al. (1995).

Size: 91 cm.

Native Range: Marine ascending into freshwaters. Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Native range generalized as world-wide in coastal waters from 42°N to 42°S (Collins 1985 in Gilbert 1993). Gilbert (1993) gave an update on the distribution of the striped mullet in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans. San Francisco Bay to Chile and Galapagos Islands; rare north of southern California (Eschmeyer et al. 1983; Gilbert 1993) in the Pacific. Nova Scotia to Tampico, Mexico, but absent from Bahamas and most of the West Indies and Caribbean in the western Atlantic (Gilbert 1993). Throughout the Mediterranean and Black seas, the islands of Madeira and the Azores, and the west coast of Africa to Ghana or possibly Togo, in the eastern Pacific. Southwestern Indian Ocean (Gilbert 1993). Previous reports from the Atlantic side of the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, the West Indies, and the Atlantic coasts of Central and South America are erroneous (Gilbert 1993). Etnier and Starnes (1993) mapped inland range in the United States including Mississippi River as far north as Illinois/Kentucky, and Kentucky Reservoir, Tennessee; also the Red River in Texas/Oklahoma.

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Introduced into Salton Sea, California, in 1950 (Walker et al. 1961; Dill and Cordone 1997).

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 Mugil cephalus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CA195019501Salton Sea
FL198819892Cape Canaveral; Vero Beach
TX195519551East Galveston Bay

Table last updated 7/23/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Intentionally stocked. Fifteen fish from San Felipe, Mexico, were stocked (Walker et al. 1961).

Status: The introduction failed to produce a viable population and the species is extirpated in the Salton Sea.

Impact of Introduction: 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.

References: (click for full references)

Dill, W.A., and A.J. Cordone. 1997. History and status of introduced fises in California, 1871-1996. Calilfornia Department of Fish and Game. Fish Bulletin 178.

Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald, and H. Hamann. 1983. A field guide to Pacific Coast fishes of North America. Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA.

Etnier, D.A., and W.C. Starnes. 1993. The fishes of Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN.

Fischer, W., F. Krupp, W. Schneider, C. Sommer, K.E. Carpenter, and V.H. Niem. 1995. Guía FAO para la identificatión de especies para los fines de la pesca. Pacifico centro-oriental. Volumen III. Vertebrados - Parte 2. Vol. III: 1201-1813. Roma, FAO.

Gilbert, C.R. 1993. Geographic distribution of the striped mullet in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans. Florida Scientist 56(4):204--210.

Miller, D.J., and R.N. Lea. 1972. Guide to the coastal marine fishes of California. Fish Bulletin of the California Department of Fish and Game 157:1-235.

Robins, C.R., and G.C. Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic Coast fishes of North America. The Peterson Guide Series, volume 32. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Walker, B.W., R.R. Whitney, and G.W. Barlow. 1961. Fishes of the Salton Sea. 77-92 in B.W. Walker, ed. The ecology of the Salton Sea, California, in relation to the sport fishery of California. Fish Bulletin of the California Department of Fish and Game 113.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 9/4/2019

Peer Review Date: 11/30/2011

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2024, Mugil cephalus Linnaeus, 1758: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=788, Revision Date: 9/4/2019, Peer Review Date: 11/30/2011, Access Date: 7/23/2024

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. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/23/2024].

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