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Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Mullus surmuletus Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: body moderately compressed. Snout longer and less deep than Mullus barbatus. Maxilla at most reaching below anterior eye margin; only 2 sub-orbital scales; head about 25% of total length. A pair of stout barbels under chin, their length greater than that of pectoral fins. Opercle without spine. Small villiforrn teeth on lower jaw; upper jaw toothless; teeth also present on vomer and palatines. First dorsal with 7-8 spines, the first one short; second dorsal with 1 spine and 7-8 soft rays. 33-37 scales in lateral line. Colour: reddish with brown edges on the scale margins, pink on the sides with three lengthwise yellow bands; the first dorsal fin yellowish with dark markings, mainly on the upper part of the fin membrane. Size: to 40 cm SL, usually 20-25 cm.

Habitat: benthic on broken and rough ground but also taken in fair quantities over sand and soft bottoms at depths less than 100 m. Less gregarious than Mullus barbatus. Food: entirely composed of bottom organisms (crustaceans, chiefly shrimps and amphipods, polychaetes, molluscs and benthic fishes) except during their pelagic life (larval crustaceans and copepods). Reproduction: spawns from May to July; the eggs and larvae are pelagic.

Distribution: along the coasts of Europe from the English Channel (rare in North Sea) to Gibraltar, also northern part of West Africa to Dakar and in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Montalenti, 1937: 391-393, fig. 264-265.
Otoliths (sagitta). Koken, 1884: 537, pl. 10 (fig. 4) | Sanz Echeverría, 1926: 156, fig. 16;1936: 357, pl. 47 (fig. 1-14) | Chaine, 1938: 5, pl. 1.

Red mullet (Mullus surmuletus)