Mountain Mullet living in our Gardens
Published on August 28, 2023
Mountain Mullet, Agonostomus monticola, is a moderately small fish species that is found in the Caribbean Basin, Central and northern South America, and the Southeastern U.S. Adult Mountain Mullets typically spend their lives in freshwater, where they spawn. It’s thought that newly-hatched larvae are carried out to sea, but soon return as juveniles. The young Mullet frequently swim to the headwaters of rivers and streams.
Mountain Mullet prefer freshwater habitats that are free-flowing, without channelization, dams, or other alterations. They are found where water is clear, typically with trees growing along the banks to provide some shady canopy.
Although the species is fairly common in the more tropical parts of its range, it seems sensitive to habitat conditions. In South Florida, land of slow-moving swamp waters, all natural coastal rivers, streams, and springs either have sustained profound flow and water-quality changes or have been completely eliminated. Mountain Mullet were formerly seen at the former Parrot Jungle, now Pinecrest Gardens. The population disappeared, but after efforts by the Village, have abundantly recolonized the single known site of the species’ recent occurrence, the Lower Garden ponds at Pinecrest Gardens, which maintains essential habitat for the species. Look for schools of bullet-shaped, active fish of all ages and sizes up to about a foot in length.