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Mullus barbatus - Gervais.jpg
Mullus barbatus
Red mullet
Scientific classification

Type species
Mullus barbatus
Linnaeus, 1758

Mullus is a subtropical marine genus of perciform fish of the family Mullidae (goatfish) and includes the red mullets, occurring mainly in the southwest Atlantic near the South American coast and in the Eastern Atlantic including the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.[2] These fish are benthic and can be found resting and feeding over soft substrates.


Members of the genus Mullus can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Mediterannean Sea. They are often found over soft substrates such as sand in which they search for prey using sensitive "whiskers".

Commercial Significance[edit]

The most commercially important of these species is the Red Mullet (Mullus barbatus) which is common in Mediterranean cuisine and often fished for using seine nets, a practice thought to be damaging as it can remove large numbers of spawning fish.


There are currently four recognized species in this genus:[3]

Mullus surmuletus
Species[4] Common name[4] Environment & range[5] IUCN status[6]
Mullus argentinae C. L. Hubbs & Marini, 1933 Argentine goatfish Southwestern Atlantic Ocean; Marine; subtropical; demersal NE*
Mullus auratus D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1882 Red goatfish Western Atlantic Ocean; Marine; subtropical; demersal NE
Mullus barbatusT Linnaeus, 1758 Red mullet Eastern Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea & Black Sea; Marine; subtropical; demersal NE
Mullus surmuletus Linnaeus, 1758 Surmullet Eastern Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea & Black Sea; Marine; subtropical; demersal NE

*) NE - not evaluated
T) Type species


  1. ^ Linnaeus, C., 1758: Systema Naturae, Ed. X. (Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.) Holmiae. Systema Naturae, Ed. X. v. 1: i-ii + 1-824.
  2. ^ Johnson, G.D. & Gill, A.C. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 186. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
  3. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). Species of Mullus in FishBase. December 2013 version.
  4. ^ a b Fish Identification at FishBase. Family Mullidae
  5. ^ Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray 1986: A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 354 p.
  6. ^ The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species