Yellow-eye mullet

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Yellow-eye mullet
Yellow-eye mullet.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Mugiliformes
Family: Mugilidae
Genus: Aldrichetta
Whitley, 1945
A. forsteri
Binomial name
Aldrichetta forsteri
(Valenciennes, 1836)

Aldrichetta forsteri nonpilcharda Whitley, 1951
Mugil forsteri Valenciennes, 1836
Mugil albula Forster, 1801
Agonostoma diemensis (Richardson, 1840)
Dajaus diemensis Richardson, 1840

The yellow-eye mullet (Aldrichetta forsteri) is a mullet of the family Mugilidae, the only species in the genus Aldrichetta. It is found around New Zealand, the Chatham Islands, and southern Australia. In New Zealand it is also known as the sprat or herring, but is neither a true sprat nor a true herring.[2] They are also commonly called the sand mullet. The generic name refers to Fred Aldrich who was the Chief Inspector of Fisheries and Game in Perth, Western Australia from 1911-1937, adding etta to his surname to make a diminutive while the specific name honours the naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-1798) who observed this fish on one of Captain James Cook's voyages in New Zealand and who described it well enough in his notes for Valenciennes to describe it as a new species.[3]

Yellow-eye mullet head

The back is olive-green, and the belly is silver, usually with a yellow tinge. The eyes are a distinctive bright yellow, as its common name suggests, which easily distinguishes it from other coastal fish. They commonly grow to 25 centimeters. The greatest recorded size is 50 centimeters length and 950 grams weight.[4]

The yellow-eye mullet is similar to the flathead grey mullet, but has a more pointed head and mouth[4] and does not grow as large. Its teeth are larger and more numerous than in a flathead mullet.

They range from the surface to depths of 50 m, but usually only down to 10 m. The yellow-eye mullet schools in large numbers in summer and enters bays and estuaries, and may enter rivers.[2] They feed on benthic detritus, algae and small invertebrates.[4] Occasionally large schools can be seen feeding on the surface. Their greatest known age is seven years.[4]

They have a low habitat damage rate.

The meat of this fish is extremely rich in omega three fatty acids. They are very nice smoked. The black lining surrounding the stomach should be removed before cooking.


  1. ^ David, B.; Franklin, P.; Closs, G.; et al. (2014). "Aldrichetta forsteri". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2014: e.T197036A2478220. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T197036A2478220.en.
  2. ^ a b Walrond, Carl (13 July 2012). "Coastal fish - Shallow-water fish". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  3. ^ Christopher Scharpf & Kenneth J. Lazara (4 June 2018). "Mugiliformes". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Aldrichetta forsteri" in FishBase. February 2006 version.
  • Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8

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