Flounder
Overview
 
The flounder is an ocean-dwelling flatfish
Flatfish
The flatfish are an order of ray-finned fish, also called the Heterosomata, sometimes classified as a suborder of Perciformes. In many species, both eyes lie on one side of the head, one or the other migrating through and around the head during development...

 species that is found in coastal lagoons and estuaries
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 of the Northern Atlantic and Pacific
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 Oceans.
There are a number of geographical and taxonomical species to which flounder belong.
  • Western Atlantic
    • Gulf Flounder - Paralichthys albigutta
    • Southern flounder
      Paralichthys lethostigma
      Paralichthys lethostigma is a popular sports fish and is the largest and most commercially valuable flounder in the western north Atlantic ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Its range is North Carolina to the Yucatan peninsula...

       - Paralichthys lethostigma
    • Summer flounder
      Summer flounder
      The Summer Flounder is a marine flatfish that is found in the Atlantic Ocean off the East coast of the United States and Canada. It is especially abundant in waters from North Carolina to Massachusetts.-Description:...

       (also known as fluke) - Paralichthys dentatus
    • Winter flounder
      Winter flounder
      The winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus, is a right-eyed flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae. It is native to coastal waters of the western north Atlantic coast, from Labrador, Canada to Georgia, United States...

       - Pseudopleuronectes americanus

  • European waters
    • European flounder
      European flounder
      The European flounder is a flatfish of European coastal waters from the White Sea in North to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea in South. Introduced into the USA and Canada accidentally through transport in ballast water. It is a well-known food fish.-Description:The European flounder is oval in...

       - Platichthys flesus

  • Off the coast of Japan
    • Olive flounder
      Olive flounder
      The Olive flounder or Bastard halibut is a species of large-tooth flounder native to the north-western Pacific Ocean....

       - Paralichthys olivaceus

In its life cycle, an adult flounder has two eyes situated on one side of its head, where at hatching one eye is located on each side of its brain.
Encyclopedia
The flounder is an ocean-dwelling flatfish
Flatfish
The flatfish are an order of ray-finned fish, also called the Heterosomata, sometimes classified as a suborder of Perciformes. In many species, both eyes lie on one side of the head, one or the other migrating through and around the head during development...

 species that is found in coastal lagoons and estuaries
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 of the Northern Atlantic and Pacific
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 Oceans.

Taxonomy

There are a number of geographical and taxonomical species to which flounder belong.
  • Western Atlantic
    • Gulf Flounder - Paralichthys albigutta
    • Southern flounder
      Paralichthys lethostigma
      Paralichthys lethostigma is a popular sports fish and is the largest and most commercially valuable flounder in the western north Atlantic ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Its range is North Carolina to the Yucatan peninsula...

       - Paralichthys lethostigma
    • Summer flounder
      Summer flounder
      The Summer Flounder is a marine flatfish that is found in the Atlantic Ocean off the East coast of the United States and Canada. It is especially abundant in waters from North Carolina to Massachusetts.-Description:...

       (also known as fluke) - Paralichthys dentatus
    • Winter flounder
      Winter flounder
      The winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus, is a right-eyed flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae. It is native to coastal waters of the western north Atlantic coast, from Labrador, Canada to Georgia, United States...

       - Pseudopleuronectes americanus

  • European waters
    • European flounder
      European flounder
      The European flounder is a flatfish of European coastal waters from the White Sea in North to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea in South. Introduced into the USA and Canada accidentally through transport in ballast water. It is a well-known food fish.-Description:The European flounder is oval in...

       - Platichthys flesus

  • Off the coast of Japan
    • Olive flounder
      Olive flounder
      The Olive flounder or Bastard halibut is a species of large-tooth flounder native to the north-western Pacific Ocean....

       - Paralichthys olivaceus

Eye migration

In its life cycle, an adult flounder has two eyes situated on one side of its head, where 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
Metamorphosis
Metamorphosis is a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal's body structure through cell growth and differentiation...

 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.

Habitat

Flounder ambush their prey, feeding at soft muddy areas of the sea bottom, near bridge piles, docks and coral reefs, and have been also found at the bottom of the Mariana trench
Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is the deepest part of the world's oceans. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean, to the east of the Mariana Islands. The trench is about long but has a mean width of only...

, the deepest known ocean canyon. Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard
Jacques Piccard
Jacques Piccard was a Swiss oceanographer and engineer, known for having developed underwater vehicles for studying ocean currents. He was one of only two people, along with Lt...

 and US Navy Lt. Don Walsh
Don Walsh
Don Walsh is an American oceanographer, explorer and marine policy specialist. He and Jacques Piccard were aboard the bathyscaphe Trieste when it made a record maximum descent into the Mariana Trench on 23 January 1960, the deepest point of the world's ocean...

 reached a depth of 10916 metres (35,813.6 ft) and were surprised to discover sole
Sole (fish)
Sole is a group of flatfish belonging to several families. Generally speaking, they are members of the family Soleidae, but, outside Europe, the name sole is also applied to various other similar flatfish, especially other members of the sole suborder Soleoidei as well as members of the flounder...

 or flounder about 30 cm long.

A flounder's diet consists mainly of fish spawn, crustacean
Crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

s, polychaete
Polychaete
The Polychaeta or polychaetes are a class of annelid worms, generally marine. Each body segment has a pair of fleshy protrusions called parapodia that bear many bristles, called chaetae, which are made of chitin. Indeed, polychaetes are sometimes referred to as bristle worms. More than 10,000...

s and small fish. Flounder typically grow to a length of 12.5–37.5 cm (4.9–14.8 in), and as large as 60 centimetres (23.6 in). Their width is about half their length.

Threats

World stocks of large predatory fish and large ground fish such as sole
Sole (fish)
Sole is a group of flatfish belonging to several families. Generally speaking, they are members of the family Soleidae, but, outside Europe, the name sole is also applied to various other similar flatfish, especially other members of the sole suborder Soleoidei as well as members of the flounder...

 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
Sole (fish)
Sole is a group of flatfish belonging to several families. Generally speaking, they are members of the family Soleidae, but, outside Europe, the name sole is also applied to various other similar flatfish, especially other members of the sole suborder Soleoidei as well as members of the flounder...

) 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
Seafood Watch
Seafood Watch is one of the best known sustainable seafood advisory lists, and has influenced similar programs around the world. It is a program designed to raise consumer awareness about the importance of buying seafood from sustainable sources...

, Atlantic flounder and sole are currently on the list of seafood that sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

-minded consumers should avoid.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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