Treasure Coast Essay
7:20 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Mullet time

Once again, the mullet are running.  Every year at this time, these little fish migrate by the millions down the Indian River Lagoon, grazing on all sorts if vegetation including algae, which choke up our sea grass.  The mullet, in turn, are food for a wide variety of birds and fish, including sea trout, jack, red drum, flounder and tarpon.  And these fish, in turn, are food for us.  Where mullet are jumping you often see humans fishing.  Which brings up a question asked on the Treasure Coast.  Why do mullet jump?  When I go out in a kayak in September or October, they jump all around me.  Sometimes one leaps five or six times in a row.  Sometimes a whole school leaps.  Slap slap slap slap slap.  It’s quite a sight.  Has eluding their many predators made them daffy?  Are they looking around for their buddies?  Naturalists have two theories.  One is that smacking the surface on their descent helps them digest their food.  The other theory is that they are drawing an extra supply of air into the back of their throat.  This allows them to feed in bottom sediments where oxygen is rare.  Sort of a miniature Scuba tank.  I have my own explanation.  The mullet are just having fun.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.