Four-Spotted flounder
The Four-Spotted Flounder, Paralichthys oblongus (Jordan and Evermann, 1896), also called American Four-Spotted Flounder or simply Four-Spot, is a flatfish and member of the left-eyed flounder
The flounder is an ocean-dwelling flatfish species that is found in coastal lagoons and estuaries of the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.-Taxonomy:There are a number of geographical and taxonomical species to which flounder belong.*Western Atlantic...

 family Paralichthyidae
Large-tooth flounders are a family, Paralichthyidae, of flounders. They lie on the sea bed on their right side; both eyes are on the left side of the head, while the Pleuronectidae are the opposite with their eyes on the right side....



As with most members of the left-eye flounders they can change the color and pattern of their dark side to match the surrounding bottom, and are also capable of rapidly burrowing into muddy or sandy bottoms. The back, which may vary in overall color from light brown to dark gray, is marked with four large and quite conspicuous black "eye-like" spots edged with a much lighter color, two of them situated at each margin of the body. The teeth are sharp and well developed. The underside is pale pinkish, almost translucent in certain areas. Data collected from fishing trawlers suggests adults average about 10 to 12 inches long with 16 inches likely being the maximum size. Adults are predatory and mostly piscivorous, preying on any small fish such as sand lance
Sand lance
A sand lance or sandlance is a fish belonging to the family Ammodytidae. Several species of sand lance are commonly known as "sand eels" or "sandeels", though they are not related to true eels. Another variant name is launce, and all names of the fish are references to its slender body and...

 and Atlantic silverside
Atlantic silverside
The Atlantic silverside, Menidia menidia, is one of the most common fish in the Chesapeake Bay and in the Barnegat Bay. It is a common subject of scientific research because has a sensitivity to environmental changes....

, as well as squid
Squid are cephalopods of the order Teuthida, which comprises around 300 species. Like all other cephalopods, squid have a distinct head, bilateral symmetry, a mantle, and arms. Squid, like cuttlefish, have eight arms arranged in pairs and two, usually longer, tentacles...



A range in the western Atlantic from the Gulf of Maine
Gulf of Maine
The Gulf of Maine is a large gulf of the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of North America.It is delineated by Cape Cod at the eastern tip of Massachusetts in the southwest and Cape Sable at the southern tip of Nova Scotia in the northeast. It includes the entire coastlines of the U.S...

, and perhaps as far north as Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

, south to Florida, preferring water depths of at least 12 fathoms and as far out as to the continental shelf
Continental shelf
The continental shelf is the extended perimeter of each continent and associated coastal plain. Much of the shelf was exposed during glacial periods, but is now submerged under relatively shallow seas and gulfs, and was similarly submerged during other interglacial periods. The continental margin,...

. Little is documented of the breeding and seasonal migratory habits of this fish.

Commercial fishing, angling, and food quality

The Four-spotted flounder is most often taken commercially by fishing trawlers. Due to its small size and lack of abundance inshore it is not prized or even well known by recreational anglers who may often mistake this flounder for its relative the Summer Flounder Paralichthys dentatus, as it shares a similar offshore range, appearance, and feeding habits. In addition to the obvious four spots and more translucent underside, the Four-Spot can also be identified from the Summer Flounder by its slightly more elongated shape and proportionately larger eyes. The meat is white and considered to have a very mild taste like that of the Summer flounder and Southern flounder Paralichthys lethostigma
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...

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