Term of Award

Summer 1983

Degree Name

Master of Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Bill Lovejoy

Committee Member 1

Sturgis McKeever

Committee Member 2

Frank E. French


A study of the biology of the striped mullet, Mugil aephalus L., was conducted in the coastal waters of Glynn County, Georgia from September 1980 through July 1982. A total of 1,016 mullet was tagged with the Howitt internal anchor tag, and to date, 3% of these tagged fish have been recovered. Approximately 81% of the recoveries were returned by recreational fishermen.

In general, the movement of mullet was southward in the fall with a limited northward movement during spring and summer. Mullet exhibited a tendency to move into freshwater areas during spring and summer, and fish collected in these areas were two years or older and exhibited fork lengths greater than 255 mm. The recovery rate and distance traveled by mullet increased with the increased size of the fish, and time at large had little influence on distance traveled.

Scales from 826 and otoliths from 492 mullet were used to determine age. Ages ranged from 0 to 8 years; males achieved a maximum age of 5 years. Female mullet grew faster and attained a greater mean length at any age than males.

Examination of gonads and Gonadosomatic Index values indicated a gradual maturation of mullet in late summer with peak spawning in November. Spawning occurred from October through March. The sex ratio of males to females was 1:1.08. Mullet mature in the third year of life (Age II). The estimated fecundity of mullet ranged from 0.3 to 1.6 million eggs with an average of 0.6 million.

The time sequential collection of young mullet showed the first recruits appeared in November of 1980 and October of 1981. Small mullet continued to appear in seine collections through March and April with February as the peak month of abundance. Monthly seine data indicated little growth of young mullet from October through March. However, by the following January the young had attained a mean length of 133 mm.

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