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The red mullets or surmullets are two species of goatfish, Mullus barbatus and Mullus surmuletus, found in the Mediterranean Seamarker, east North Atlantic Oceanmarker, and the Black Seamarker. Both "red mullet" and "surmullet" can also refer to the Mullidae in general.

Though they can easily be distinguished—M. surmuletus has a striped first dorsal fin—their common names overlap in many of the languages of the region. In English, M. surmuletus is sometimes called the striped red mullet.

They are both favored delicacies in the Mediterranean, and in antiquity were "one of the most famous and valued fish". They are very similar, and cooked in the same ways. M. surmuletus is perhaps somewhat more prized.

Despite the English name "red mullet", these fishes of the goatfish family Mullidae are not closely related to many other species called "mullet", which are members of the grey mullet family Mugilidae.

The word "surmullet" comes from the French, and ultimately probably from a Germanic root "sor" 'reddish brown'.

References

  • Alan Davidson, Mediterranean Seafood, Penguin 1972, ISBN 0-14-046174-4


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