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About mullet familyEdit
The mullets or grey mullets are a family (Mugilidae) of ray-finned fish found worldwide in coastal temperate and tropical waters, and in some species in fresh water like the Shingle Fish. Mullets have served as an important source of food in Mediterranean Europe since Roman times. The family includes about 80 species in 17 genera, although half of the species are in just two genera (Liza and Mugil).
Mullets are distinguished by the presence of two separate dorsal fins, small triangular mouths, and the absence of a lateral line organ. They feed on detritus, and most species have unusually muscular stomachs and a complex pharynx to help in digestion.
The red mullets or surmullets are two species of goatfish, Mullus barbatus and Mullus surmuletus, found in the Mediterranean Sea, east North Atlantic Ocean, and the Black Sea. Both "red mullet" and "surmullet" can also refer to the Mullidae in general.
Though they can easily be distinguished—M. surmuletus has a striped first dorsal fin—their common names overlap in many of the languages of the region. In English, M. surmuletus is sometimes called the striped red mullet.
They are both favored delicacies in the Mediterranean, and in antiquity were "one of the most famous and valued fish". They are very similar, and cooked in the same ways. M. surmuletus is perhaps somewhat more prized.
Despite the English name "red mullet", these fishes of the goatfish family Mullidae are not closely related to many other species called "mullet", which are members of the grey mullet family Mugilidae.
The word "surmullet" comes from the French, and ultimately probably from a Germanic root "sor" 'reddish brown'.