Mugil trichodon

Common Name

Fantail Mullet

Year Described

Poey, 1875


Dorsal Fin: IV, 8
Anal Fin: III, 8
Pectoral Fin: II, 15
Lateral Scale Rows: 30-33
Transverse Scales: 11-12
Circumpeduncular Scales: 15-16
Gill Rakers:

Body elongate; cylindrical anteriorly and becoming more compressed posteriorly. Snout narrowly blunt. Top of head flat. Eye diameter much 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 or even with second dorsal fin. Dorsal and anal fins densely covered with small scales. Pectoral fin high on side and barely reaching dorsal fin origin. Tail forked. Body scales with minute spines.


Body whitish grading to darker dorsally. Center of scales on mid-body with dark centers forming faint stripes on body. Dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins with dense melanophores. Second dorsal fin with a dark tip. Ventral fins generally pale with a sprinkling of melanophores. Tail margin dark. A large blotch on the pectoral base and axil. Eye color pale.


Maximum size to 25cm SL


Found inshore and in estuarine waters.


Known from the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and off northern South America. Not recorded from off Brazil.


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.

Menezes, N.A., M. Nirchio, C. Oliveira & R. Siccharamirez. 2015. Taxonomic review of the species of Mugil (Teleostei: Perciformes: Mugilidae) from the Atlantic South Caribbean and South America, with integration of morphological, cytogenetic and molecular data. Zootaxa 3918 (1): 1-38.

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 gyrans is a junior synonym of this species.

According to Menezes et al. (2015), the known southern limit of this species is Venezuela and it has not been captured off of Brazil. Records of this species in Brazil are Mugil curvidens, which is easily distinguished by having 9 second dorsal fin elements (vs 8) and higher modal scale counts. The only other mullets with 8 branched rays in adults are M. liza and M. cephalus, which have a mostly unscaled dorsal and anal fin.