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Monday, May 2, 2016

European Flounder

Photo Credit: WikedKentaur
The European flounder's flattened body and ability to change color to blend in with its surroundings make it well adapted for a predatory existence in coastal waters.

The European flounder is hatched in the surface waters of the sea, but may spend much of its life in fresh water. Barely able to swim, the fish travels upstream on the tide to feed on small aquatic animals that live near the shore.

The European flounder is one of the most adaptable and widespread of all flatfish. Although native to European coastal waters, it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures: it has been caught as far north at the Arctic coast of Norway and as far south Africa.

The flounder also has the unusual ability to survive in both salt and fresh water. The founder is especially common in brackish river mouths. It often moves upriver at high tide to feed in the tidal river waters. When the tide ebbs, the founder lies stationary on the bottom of the river and waits for the returning tide, which then carries it still further inland.

The flounder has powerful crushing teeth in its throat that crack open the hard-shelled mollusks that make up much of its diet. It mainly eats cockles, shrimp, and marine worms.

Did you know?
  • Sometimes a flounder's right eye shifts to its left side. This fish lies on its right side. 
  • Adult flounders often migrate long distances to the spawning grounds and my lose up to one-tenth of their body weight in the process. 
  • The flounder can blend in with almost any background. When it is placed on a chessboard,, for example, it adopts a roughly checkered pattern.

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