Morphology Data of Mugil curema
Identification keys
Main Ref. Smith, C.L., 1997
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase Skull, Spine

Sex attributes

Specialized organs
Different appearance
Different colors

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features
Body shape lateral fusiform / normal
Cross section circular
Dorsal head profile
Type of eyes
Type of mouth/snout
Position of mouth
Type of scales

Diagnosis: body stout, rounded in cross-section; head broad; inter-orbital space flat; a well developed adipose eyelid covering most of pupil (Ref. 57400). Upper lip simple, thicker and deeper than in most Mugil species, armed with 2-3 rows (Ref. 57400), teeth in outer row curved, monocuspid (Ref. 57400, 81659) and moderately close-set (Ref. 81659) or widely spaced (Ref. 57400), inner row of less closely set, smaller teeth may be present just posterior to outer row (Ref. 81659). Lower lip with single row of unicuspid teeth, usually smaller than teeth in outer row on upper lip (Ref. 81659). A vertical line from hind end of upper jaw positioned midway between posterior nostril and anterior eye margin; maxillary pad not visible below corner of mouth when closed; origin of 1st dorsal fin equidistant from snout tip and caudal-fin base; pectoral axillary process well developed (30-37% of pectoral-fin length)(Ref. 57400). (Second) dorsal and anal fins entirely (and more or less densely) covered with scales (Ref. 57400, 81659). Anal fin usually III-9 (rarely III-10) in adults (usually II-10 in juveniles <30 mm SL), first spine very short and usually hidden by overlying scales (Ref. 81659). 11-13 scale rows between origins of first dorsal and pelvic fins (Ref. 57400, 81659).

Description: 32-39 (usually 35 or 36) scales in longitudinal series (excluding scales on caudal fin base)(Ref. 81659), usually 38-39 scales in lateral series (Ref. 26938). Scales on side covered with smaller secondary scales (Ref. 26938). Scales covering entire second dorsal and anal fins in adults, fins less heavily scaled in specimens <50 mm SL; pectoral fin 70-85% of head length, with 1 short, unsegmented ray dorsally and 14-17 longer, segmented rays; pharyngobranchial organ with single, large valve, often longer (anteroposteriorly) than deep (dorsoventrally)(Ref. 81659).

Coloration: live specimens: bluish green or olive dorsally, flanks silvery and abdomen off-white; yellowish blotch between eye and upper edge of opercle (Ref. 81659). Dorsal fins translucid (Ref. 57400) with numerous, fine, black speckles on and between rays, second dorsal fin sometimes slightly darker than first (Ref. 81659). Caudal fin yellowish at base, with fine black speckles on and between rays (Ref. 81659) and blackish distal margin (Ref. 57400, 81659). Anal and pelvic fins paler than dorsal fins (Ref. 81659) and may be yellowish (Ref. 57400, 81659). Pectoral fin speckled with fine black spots, but paler than dorsal fins (Ref. 81659). Dark spot dorsally at origin of pectoral fin (Ref. 57400, 81659). Preserved specimens: may be dark brown, with darker patches on dorsal parts of flanks adjacent to first dorsal fin and anteriorly on nape and occiput (Ref. 81659).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Mugil curema

Lateral Lines Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line 33 - 41
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle 16 - 19
Barbels 0
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb
on upper limb


Dorsal fin(s)

Fins number 2
Finlets No. Dorsal   0
Ventral  0
Spines total 4 - 5
Soft-rays total 8 - 9
Adipose fin absent

Caudal fin

Attributes forked; more or less normal

Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total 3 - 3
Soft-rays total 9 - 10

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  more or less normal
Pelvics Attributes  more or less normal
Position    abdominal  before origin of D1
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Pablico, Grace Tolentino
Modified by Musschoot, Tobias
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