Red; sides with longitudinal yellow lines: profile descending obliquely from the forehead.
M. Surmuletus, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. I. p. 496. Bloch, Ichth. pl. 57. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. i. pl. 12. Flem. Brit. An. p. 216. Surmullet, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 285. tab. S. 7. f. 1. Striped Surmullet, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 274. pl. 53. Ld. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 368. pl. 64. Striped Red Mullet, Yarr. Brit. Fish. vol. i. p. 27. Surmulet, Cuv. et Val. Poiss. torn. iii. p. 319. Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 157.
From twelve to fifteen inches.
(Form). Thick and blunt-headed, the profile falling abruptly from the forehead: greatest depth contained four times and a half in the entire length; thickness rather more than half the depth: head a little less than one-fourth of the whole length: eyes large; mouth small; jaws equal; the lower one only with fine teeth like velvet; teeth in the middle of the palate forming a pavement: chin with two harbules two-thirds of the length of the head: scales large, particularly those on the head and gill-covers, easily falling: first dorsal commencing at a little less than one-third of the entire length from the end of the snout; its length half the depth of the body; its height somewhat exceeding its length; first three rays nearly equal, the others gradually decreasing: space between the two dorsals equalling the length of the first: height of the second rather less than that of the first; its length somewhat greater; first ray shorter than the second and third, which are equal and longest; the succeeding ones gradually decreasing; all the rays branched: caudal deeply forked: anal similar to the second dorsal, commencing a little more backward, but ending in the same vertical line; all the rays except the first branched: finless portion of the tail not quite one-fourth of the whole length, caudal excluded: pectorals not quite so long as the head, narrow, and somewhat pointed; the first two rays simple, the others branched; fourth ray longest: ventrals exactly beneath them, and nearly of the same length; first ray spinous; second and third longest; all the soft rays branched: number of rays altogether,
D. 7 - 8 or 9; A. 8; C. 15, and some short ones; P. 17; V. 1/6.
* Hist. Pise. p. 289.
Number of vertebrae twenty-four. (Colours). General colour of the back and sides vermilion-red, with three longitudinal lines of golden yellow: throat, breast, belly, and beneath the tail, white, tinged with rose-colour fins pale red, inclining in some places to yellow. When the scales are rubbed off, the skin appears crimson.
Met with principally on the southern coast. Mr. Couch states that it " is a migratory fish, and usually reaches the Cornish shores about Midsummer. Its common habit is to keep close to the ground, but the migration is performed near the surface." Has no air-bladder. Food, according to Bloch, Crustacea, small fish, and shelled mollusca. Spawns in Spring.