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Malibu Lagoon Fish Life

July 6, 2014
Striped Mullet (Wikipedia)

Striped Mullet (Wikipedia)

According to Wikipedia, Striped Mullet goes by many names, including:  Black mullet (Cuba, US), Bully mullet (Australia, Vietnam), Callifaver mullet (Cuba, Netherlands Antilles, US), Common grey mullet (UK), Common mullet (Cuba, Netherlands Antilles, US), Flathead grey mullet (India, Philippines, UK), Flathead mullet (Europe, FAO, UN), Grey mullet (Thailand, Turkey, Australia, Taiwan, Cuba, Fiji, Hong Kong, Mauritius, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Spain, Tonga, UK, US, Mediterranean, Egypt), Hardgut mullet (Australia), Mangrove mullet (Australia), and Sea mullet (Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, UK).

Decades ago, British and American bird mavens decided to agree on English names for all the world’s birds. They’ve made much progress, with some exceptions such as when the bird Americans knew as Common Gallinule was renamed Common Moorhen to satisfy British intransigence (recently rectified), whereupon some American birders pointed out that we don’t have moors, they’re not all hens, and they’re not all that common. LAAS’s Western Tanager newsletter, highlighting this problem of multiple nomenclature once ran an article, by Garrett & Dunn, I believe, detailing how to differentiate between three then-widespread egrets: Common, Great and American. [It was an April issue in I forget which year.]

Fish lovers have made no such progress, as any piscivore should know. Surely you are aware that Chilean sea bass was previously known as Patagonian toothfish; the name change was a marketing decision – sea bass sounded far more scrumptious than toothfish, and anyway, no real American knows where Patagonia is. [The good sales people at REI will gladly point you in the right direction.]

Which brings us around to the mullet many have seen leaping friskily from Malibu Lagoon in recent months. The New England Aquarium says they are also called jumping mullet or jumping jack (take that, Wikipedia!) because of this behavior. I couldn’t find out if this is a courting display, a feeding behavior, an attempt to shake off parasites or a recreational activity. [Anyone out there know?]

If you haven’t personally witnessed this phenomenon, check out the Dance of the Striped Mullet slideshow on Bob Purvey’s EcoMalibu website.

EcoMalibu also has a video page of over 20 different films pertaining to the lagoon and the reconfiguration project.  The following is a list of short underwater films taken near the water monitoring stations (those posts with vertical depth gauges) ; you’ll be surprised at how much life is swimming around down there.  This list, along with many other delights, is on our permanent Malibu Lagoon Project page. [Chuck Almdale]
1. Aug. 7, 2013 Length 1:48 minutes “Life Below the Surface”
2. Aug. 12, 2013 Length 9:20 minutes “Malibu Lagoon Aquarium”
3. Aug. 26, 2013 Length 3:53 minutes “Malibu Lagoon Aquarium II”
4. Sep. 9, 2013 Length 4:55 minutes “Malibu Lagoon Aquarium III”
5. Sep. 30, 2013 Length 1:47 minutes “Shrimpfest”
6. Oct. 2, 2013 Length 2:42 minutes “Malibu Lagoon Aquarium IV”
7. Oct. 22, 2013 Length 8:31 minutes “Fish, Fish, Fish”
8. Nov. 4, 2013 Length 0:57 minutes “The Big Fish”
9. Apr. 30, 2014 Length 3:36 minutes “Lagoon Crustaceans”
10. Jun. 18, 2014 Length 3:49 minutes “Aquarium & Aviary”
11. Jun. 25, 2014 Length 2:21 minutes “Got Fish? Malibu Lagoon Does”
12. Jun. 25, 2014 Length 2:08 minutes “Shrimpfest II”
13. May-June, 2014 Slide Show “Dance of the Striped Mullet”
14. Jul. 7, 2014 Length 1:56 minutes “Mullet Adult School”
More to Come

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