Snouted Mullet, Chaenomugil proboscideus
The Snouted Mullet, Chaenomugil proboscideus, whose common Spanish name is lisa hocicona, is a very rare member of the Mullet or Mugilidae Family, known collectively as lisas in Mexico. Globally, there are only two species in the genus Chaenomugil, with one is found in Mexican waters, this species from the Pacific.
The Snouted Mullets have elongated deep fusiform bodies with a depth that is 30 to 32% of standard length. They are green to olive dorsally, silvery on their sides, and white ventrally. They have faint brown stripes along their scale rows. Their pelvic fins are transparent and their other fins are dusky. Their head is broad, slightly wider than deep, and 23 to 25% of standard length. They have a blunt nose and a small terminal oblique mouth with thick lips. They lack the knob at the tip of their lower lip and the prominent well-developed fatty eyelids with a small slit over the pupil found in other Mullets. Their anal fin has 3 spines and 10 rays. Their caudal fin is weakly forked. They have two short widely spaced dorsal fins. Their pectoral fins do not reach the dorsal fin origin. They do not have a lateral line and their body is covered with large scales.
The Snouted Mullets are found along rocky shorelines and adjacent tidal pools at depths up to 150 feet. They are smaller than most Mullets reaching a maximum length of 22.0 cm (8.7 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 Snouted Mullet are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from the northern two-thirds of the Sea of Cortez and from Magdalena Bay northward along the central and northwest coasts of Baja.
Due to its fusiform body, the Snouted Mullet cannot be easily confused with any other species.
The Snouted Mullets are small and exceedingly rare, thus of limited interest to most.
Snouted Mullet, Chaenomugil proboscideus, Juvenile. Fish collected from a tidal pool at 6 miles north of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, September 2005. Length: 10 cm (3.9 inches). Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California.