Mugil liza

Common Name

Liza Mullet

Year Described

Valenciennes, 1836


Dorsal Fin: IV, 8
Anal Fin: III, 8
Pectoral Fin: II, 14-16
Lateral Scale Rows: 29-34
Transverse Scales: 10-13
Circumpeduncular Scales: 17-20
Gill Rakers:

Body elongate; cylindrical anteriorly and becoming more compressed posteriorly. Body less robust than in Mugil cephalus. Snout narrowly blunt. Top of head flat. Eye diameter greater than snout length. Subterminal mouth reaches anterior margin of orbit. Teeth with slightly curved tips. Adipose eyelid present (absent in juveniles). Spiny dorsal fin situated at mid-point of body. Anal fin inserted slightly forward of second dorsal fin. Dorsal and anal fins mostly scaleless with scales only at the anterior base of fin Pectoral fin high on side and not reaching dorsal fin origin. Tail forked. Body scales with minute spines.


Dorsum bluish to yellow-gray, grading to whitish on the belly. Several dark stripes on body follow scale rows. Dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins dusky yellow. Ventral fins pale. A dark blotch on the pectoral axil. Eye pale.


Maximum size to 100cm SL, but mostly under 40cm SL


Found inshore and in estuarine waters.


Reported from S. Florida to the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean and from Panama to S. Brazil off South America.


Durand, J.D., K.N. Shen, W.J. Chen, B.W. Jamandre, H. Blel, K. Diop, M. Nirchio, J.J. Garcia de Léon, A.K. Whitfield, C.W. Chang & P. Borsa. 2012. Systematics of the grey mullets (Teleostei: Mugiliformes: Mugilidae): Molecular phylogenentic evidence challenges two centuries of morphology-based taxonomy. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 64, 73–92.

Harrison, I.J. 2002. Mugilidae (pp 1071-1085). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 2: Bony fishes part 1 (Acipenseridae-Grammatidae). FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5.

Siccha-Ramirez, Z.R., N.A. Menezes, M. Nirchio, F. Foresti & C. Oliveira 2014. Molecular identification of mullet species of the Atlantic South Caribbean and South America and the phylogeographic analysis of Mugil liza. Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture, 22 (11), 86–96.

Other Notes

Mugil platanus is a junior synonym of this species.

Siccha-Ramirez et al. (2014) reported that records of Mugil cephalus off South America refer to M. liza. The exact northern extent of M. liza is unknown due to the confusion with M. cephalus. Scale counts are the best way to separate the two species of grey mullets.