fishes text index | photo index
Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes
Family Mugilidae

updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This tiny plump fish is commonly seen on many of our shores. Often in small groups of 5 or so, in rock pools or pools in sandy areas. They are probably juvenile mullets. Adults are often seen in schools at high tide from boardwalks and jetties.

What are mullets? Mullets belong to Family Mugilidae. According to FishBase: the family has 17 genera and 72 species. They are found in tropical and temperate seas. Species can look very similar and are hard to tell apart in the field. Some can reach 90cm long.

Features: On the intertidal, small juveniles 1-4cm, can be seen. Body long and cylindrical with a broad flat head and a small mouth. Two dorsal fins, wide apart from one another. Colour generally silvery, some with stripes.

What do they eat? They feed by filtering large quantities of bottom detritus, to eat microscopic algae and other tiny organisms. They may have only tiny teeth or no teeth at all. Most are found in brackish coastal waters, in some, the juveniles are found in freshwater.

Human uses: They are among the important fishes harvested for food with a wide variety of nets.

Adults seen from the boardwalk.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Feb 11

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Sentosa, Jan 05

Sisters Island, Aug 08

Mullets on Singapore shores

Photos of Mullets for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Family Mugilidae recorded for Singapore
from Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore.
*Lim, Kelvin K. P. & Jeffrey K. Y. Low, 1998. A Guide to the Common Marine Fishes of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre.
** from WORMS

  Family Mugilidae
  Liza macrolepis
Liza subviridis
Liza vaigiensis
(Squaretail mullet)

Mugil caeruleomaculatus=**Moolgarda seheli
Mugil dussumieri=**Liza subviridis
Mugil longimanus=**Valamugil cunnesius

Myxus elongatus

Valamugil cunnesius
Valamugil engeli
Valamugil seheli=**Moolgarda seheli



  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Lieske, Ewald and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral Reef Fishes of the World Periplus Editions. 400pp.
FREE photos of
marine fishes.
Make your own badge here.
links | references | about | email Ria
Spot errors? Have a question? Want to share your sightings? email Ria I'll be glad to hear from you!
wildfactsheets website©ria tan 2008