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  • Grey mullet/Kanae raukura (Mugil cephalus) swimming in river
    Rights: Izuzuki, Creative Commons 3.0 Published 14 December 2017 Size: 120 KB Referencing Hub media

    The grey mullet (Mugil cephalus) is one of two of the Mugilidae family found in New Zealand – the other is the yellow-eyed mullet.

    Grey mullet have a worldwide distribution, and New Zealand is at the southern limit of their range. They are mainly found in the North Island and only in the Cook Strait area during the summer months. They live in harbours, mangrove swamps and estuaries. Although primarily a marine species, grey mullet will penetrate considerable distances upstream. In the Waikato River, they are found as far inland as Karapiro Dam and travel up the neighbouring Waipa River to Te Kuiti. However, they must return to the sea to spawn.

    Grey mullet feed on detritus and plant material that they suck from the substrate. They are also known to feed by grazing the surfaces of aquatic plants.

    Acknowledgement: Izuzuki, Creative Commons 3.0

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