Most species commonly reach about 7.9 in (20 cm) in total length, but some (e.g., Mugil cephalus) may attain 31.5-39.4 in (80-100 cm). The head is broad and flattened dorsally in most species. The snout is short, and the mouth is small. The gill arches of many species are specialized, forming a characteristic pharyngobranchial organ that has an expanded, denticulate pad used for filtration of ingested ma terial. In many (but not all) species of mullets, the teeth are positioned on the lips; this is unlike most species of fishes, in which teeth, if present, are attached directly to the jawbones. In most species of mullets, the teeth are very small or may even be absent.
The eyes may be partially covered by adipose tissue. There are two short, well-separated dorsal fins, the first with four spines and the second with eight to ten segmented rays. The anal fin is short, with two or three spines and seven to twelve segmented rays in adults. The pectoral fins are placed high on the body, and the caudal fin is weakly forked. The lateral line is absent. The scales are moderate to large in size, with one or more longitudinal grooves. There are two or more py-loric caeca associated with the stomach, which also has a thick-walled, muscular gizzard in most species. Mullets usually are grayish green or blue dorsally, and their flanks are silvery, often with dark longitudinal stripes. They are pale or yellowish ventrally.
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