Maxillary visible when the mouth is closed: orifices of the nostril near together: the skin at the margin of the orbit not advancing upon the eye: scale above the pectoral short and obtuse.
M. Capito, Guv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 232. M. Cephalus, Don. Brit. Fish. vol. i. pl. 15. Flem. Brit. An. p. 217. Mullet, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 274. tab. R. 3.? Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. in. p. 329. pl. 66. Gray Mullet, Yarr. Brit. Fish. vol. i. p. 200.
From fifteen to twenty inches.
(Form). Back but little elevated: ventral line more con vex than the dorsal: greatest depth beneath the first dorsal, about one-fourth of the whole length, excluding caudal: greatest thickness nearly two-thirds of the depth: head broad and depressed; snout short, transversely blunt and rounded, but vertically sharp: mouth very protractile, transverse, angular; teeth, in the jaws scarcely perceptible, on the tongue, vomer, and palatines, more developed: maxillary visible when the mouth is closed, and not retiring beneath the infra-orbital: upper lip rather thick and fleshy, margined with a number of close-set minute pectinations: eyes rather high up; the skin at the anterior and posterior margins of the orbit not advancing over any portion of the iride: nostrils double on each side; the two orifices placed near together, the anterior one round, the posterior one oblong: head smooth; all the upper part covered with large polygonal scales: scales on the body large, but smaller than the above, deciduous: first dorsal commencing about the middle; its height twice its length; spines strong; the first two equal and longest: second dorsal considerably behind the first; its height and length the same as in that fin; all the rays except the first branched: caudal forked • anal rather in advance of the second dorsal, somewhat longer than that fin, but of the same height: pectorals about three-fourths of the length of the head; second, third, and fourth rays longest; all the rays except the first branched: ventrals a little behind the pectorals, close together, somewhat shorter; first ray strongly spinous; second soft ray longest:
B. 6; D. 4 - 9; A. 3/9; C. 14, and some short; P. 17; V. 1/5.
(Colours). Back dusky blue: sides and belly silvery; the former marked with several parallel longitudinal dark lines.
Several species of this genus are noticed by Cuvier in his "Regne Animal", confounded by previous authors under the general name of M. Cephalus. That which occurs most abundantly in our own seas, appears to be his M. Capito, to which species he himself refers the Mullet of Willughby and Pennant*. This is not uncommon on many parts of the coast, and is often found in estuaries. Spawns, according to Mr. Couch, about Midsummer.