Decaying plant material
Family: Mugilidae (mullets)
The striped mullet is also known as “jumping mullet.” A similar species that can be seen in the springs is the white mullet, also known as “silver mullet.”
Distinguishing features: Two widely spaced dorsal fins. Large eye parallel with mouth. Striped mullets have many thin horizontal stripes along their side. White mullets look similar to striped mullets but tend to be smaller, a shiny silver color without stripes, and have a dusky black edge to their tails.
Range, habitat and behavior: These typically saltwater and estuarine fish can be found in warm coastal seas worldwide; the two species most common in Florida (Striped and White) are common in the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil. Often seen jumping out of the water and feeding on the bottom.
Diet: Algae, detritus, and other tiny marine and freshwater life. Mullet can be seen picking up mud off the bottom, which they filter with their gill rakers and inner teeth, and spitting it back out.
Mullet are usually 12-14 inches long, with a maximum length of 20 inches. They are common worldwide in warm waters. They can tolerate a large range of salinity, so you may see them in salt water as well as in the springs.