Mullus barbatus

Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Mullus barbatus Linnaeus, 1758

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Mullus barbatus Linnaeus, 1758 (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: body moderately compressed. Snout short, nearly vertical. Maxilla reaching to level of eye, 3 suborbital scales; head relatively short, about 20% of total length. A pair of stout barbels under chin, their length smaller than that of pectoral fins. Opercle without spine. Small villiform teeth in lower jaw; upper jaw toothless; teeth also present on vomer and palatines. First dorsal with 7-8 spines, the first one very short, second dorsal with 1 spine and 7-8 soft rays. 31-35 scales in lateral line. Colour: rosy without any marking on fins and body. Size: to 30 cm SL, usually 10-20 cm.

Habitat: benthic species on muddy bottoms of the continental shelf between 100 and 300 m. Also found on gravels and sandy bottoms. Gregarious fish. Food: small benthic invertebrates (crustaceans, worms, molluscs). Reproduction: April to August at depths between 10 and 55 m on sandy or muddy bottoms. Post-larval pelagic stages until 28 mm standard length.

Distribution: in the eastern Atlantic, along the European and African coasts from British Isles (occasionally Scandinavia) to Dakar, the Azores, the Canaries; also Mediterranean Sea.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Montalenti, 1937: 393-398, fig. 266,
pl. 32 (fig. 9) | Varagnolo, 1964: 260, pl. 2 (fig. 8) | Bini, 1968, 4: 28, col. fig.
Otoliths (sagitta). Scott, 1906: 54, pl. 3 (fig. 49), pl. 5 (fig. 23) | Sanz
Echeverría, 1936: 351, pl. 46 (fig. 1-12) | Chaine and Duvergier, 1936: 12, pl. 1.


Mullus barbatus ponticus occurs in the Black Sea and Azov Sea. It is distinguished from Mullus barbatus barbatus by the number of suborbital scales, the length of maxillae (see key) and also by its general silver colour and a darker colour between the dorsal fins and the lateral line.

Mullus barbatus ponticus (Essipov, 1927)
Eggs, larvae and young stages. Carausu, 1952: 687-688, fig. 454a | Banarescu, 1964: 724-725, fig. 318.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.