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(gray mullets), a family of fish of the order Mugiloidea. The body is streamlined and covered with rather large scales. The mouth is small and transverse, with small teeth. There are two dorsal fins; the first usually has four spines, and the second, seven to 12 rays. The length of the body is usually 35–40 cm, but it sometimes reaches 70–90 cm. There are approximately 15 genera (more than 100 species), living mainly in the marine and brackish coastal waters of all tropical and warm seas. Some species inhabit the fresh waters of tropical America, Madagascar, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
In the USSR there are eight species. The Black Sea has the striped mullet (Mugil cephalus), the golden mullet (M. aura-tus), and the sharpnose mullet (M. saliens). The Sea of Japan has the striped mullet and the so-iuy mullet (M. so-iuy). Between 1930 and 1934 the golden mullet and sharpnose mullet were successfully acclimatized in the Caspian Sea. The Mugilidae are very mobile, stay in small schools, and often jump out of the water when frightened. They feed primarily on detritus and lower algae growing on objects in the water. They are sought by commercial and sport fishermen. Fry are grown in brackish lagoons and estuaries and in ponds. In the Black Sea, 40–60 kg, sometimes 110 kg, offish are obtained from 1 hectare; the yield in tropical waters is 300–350 kg, sometimes as much as 4,000 kg per hectare. Mullets are caught with sweep nets, seines, and cast nets and in mullet fisheries.
T. S. RASS