Liseta Mullet

Liseta Mullet, Mugil setosus

The Liseta Mullet, Mugil setosus, whose common Spanish name is lisa liseta, is a very rare member of the Mullet or Mugilidae Family, known collectively as lisas in Mexico. Globally, there are fifteen species in the genus Mugil, seven of which are found in Mexican waters, three in the Atlantic, two in the Pacific, and two in both oceans.

The Liseta Mullets have very elongated bodies with a rounded cross-section; their body depth is 23 to 25% of standard length. They are gray dorsally and silvery ventrally and on their sides. Their first dorsal fin and pelvic fins are dusky; all other fins are dark. In some fish the caudal fin has a dark margin. Their head is broad, slightly wider than deep, and 24 to 26% of standard length. They have a small terminal oblique mouth with thin lips and a knob on the bottom of their lower lip. They have a blunt nose and prominent well-developed fatty eyelids with a small slit over their pupil. Their anal fin has 3 spines and 9 rays and is strongly concave. Their caudal fin is deeply forked. They have two widely spaced high dorsal fins, the first being closer to the caudal fin than the snout and the second originating behind the anal fin and having a strongly convex margin. Their pectoral fins are short and rounded and do not reach the dorsal fin origin. They do not have a lateral line and their body is covered with large scales.

The Liseta Mullets are found over rocky structures in shallow coastal waters at depths up to 35 feet. They are smaller than most Mullets reaching a maximum length of 30 cm (12 inches). They feed primarily on algae, zooplankton, and dead plant matter making them an important ecological waste processing machine. They are preyed upon by fish, birds, and various other marine mammals. Reproduction is oviparous with females laying eggs that are fertilized externally by males. The eggs are pelagic and non-adhesive.  They are an exceedingly rare species and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Liseta Mullet are found from Magdalena Bay southward along the southwest coast of Baja and from Mazatlán south along the west coast of the mainland to Guatemala.

The Liseta Mullet is very similar to, and can be confused with the Striped Mullet, Mugil cephalus and the White Mullet, Mugil curema, both of which lack the concave anal and second dorsal fins.

The Liseta Mullets are exceedingly rare and thus of limited interest to most.

Liseta Mullet, Mugil setosus. Fish provided by the commercial bait salesmen of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, June 2005. Length: 30 cm (12 inches).