Fish of the Week – Flounder

April 23, 2013 at 8:37 AM | Posted in fish | Leave a comment
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Flounder are a group of flatfish species. They are demersal fish found at the bottom of coastal lagoons and estuaries of the Northern flounderAtlantic and Pacific Oceans.

 

There are a number of geographical and taxonomical species to which flounder belong.
* Western Atlantic
* Gulf flounder – Paralichthys albigutta
* Southern flounder – Paralichthys lethostigma
* Summer flounder (also known as fluke) – Paralichthys dentatus
* Winter flounder – Pseudopleuronectes americanus
* European waters
* European flounder – Platichthys flesus
* Northwestern Pacific
* Olive flounder – Paralichthys olivaceus

 

In its life cycle, an adult flounder has two eyes situated on one side of its head, while at hatching one eye is located on each side of its brain. One eye migrates to the other side of the body as a process of metamorphosis as it grows from larval to juvenile stage. As an adult, a flounder changes its habits and camouflages itself by lying on the bottom of the ocean floor as protection against predators. As a result, the eyes are then on the side which faces up. The side to which the eyes migrate is dependent on the species type.

 

Flounder ambush their prey, feeding at soft muddy areas of the sea bottom, near bridge piles, docks and coral reefs. They have been found at the bottom of the Mariana trench, the deepest known ocean canyon. Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard and US Navy Lt. Don Walsh reached a depth of 10,916 meters (35,814 ft) and were surprised to discover sole or flounder about 30 cm long.
A flounder’s diet consists mainly of fish spawn, crustaceans, polychaetes and small fish. Flounder typically grow to a length of 12.5–37.5 centimeters (4.9–14.8 in), and as large as 60 centimeters (24 in). Their width is about half their length. Male Platichthys are known to display a pioneering spirit, and have been found up to 80 miles off the coast of northern Sardinia, sometimes with heavy encrustations of various species of Barnacle.

 

World stocks of large predatory fish and large ground fish such as sole and flounder were estimated in 2003 to be only about 10% of pre-industrial levels, largely due to overfishing. Most overfishing is due to the extensive activities of the fishing industry. Current estimates suggest that approximately 30 million flounder (excluding sole) are alive in the world today. In the Gulf of Mexico, along the coast of Texas, research indicates the flounder population could be as low as 15 million due to heavy overfishing and industrial pollution.
According to Seafood Watch, Atlantic flounder and sole are currently on the list of seafood that sustainability-minded consumers should avoid.

 

A flounder plays a prominent role in the German folk tale “The Fisherman and His Wife” collected by the Brothers Grimm and in Günter Grass’s novel The Flounder.
“Flounder” is the nickname given to the character Kent Dorfman (played by actor Stephen Furst) in the classic 1978 comedy film, Animal House.

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