The Flounder is a marine fish that is also called a flatfish
or fluke. They live in the Northern Atlantic, on the eastern
seaboard of the United States and Canada, and in the Gulf of
Mexico and its brackish bays. The name flounder is applied
to more than just this fish and actually is the name for
several different distinct species of fish.
Flounders are interesting fish as they metamorphisize from a
young fish that looks ordinary into an adult fish that has
both eyes situated on one side. This way they can lie on the
bottom of the ocean and be able to watch from the upward
facing side of the body.
Flounders use camouflage to disguise themselves as they lay
on the bottom of the ocean. Depending on the species the
eyes may lay on the right or left side. The fish are usually
a muddy color to help them blend in with the bottom of the
ocean, and they stir up sand when they settle down, which
falls back onto them and adds to the disguise.
The size of a flounder can vary between five to fifteen
inches (thirteen to thirty-eight centimeters) in length but
there have been some types that are known to grow as long as
three feet (nearly one meter). Usually they are about half
as wide as they are long.
The flounder is a predator that ambushes its prey. They lie
in wait in soft muddy sites like near docks, piles or
bridges where there is a lot of silt. They eat small fish,
crustaceans, polychaetes and fish spawn. They are also
commercially caught as human food themselves.
The flounder is just one of the species that were found at
the bottom of the Mariana trench, which is known to be the
deepest part of the earth's crust. They were discovered at
thirty-five thousand eight hundred and thirteen feet (nearly
eleven kilometers) deep, along with some shrimp, by US Navy
Lt. Don Walsh and scientist Jacques Piccard.
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