~ The Flounder ~
Flounders are flatfish having both eyes on one side of its body. This exposed side, as the fish lie on their side on the ocean bottom, is the left side in one family of flounders and, almost always, the right side in the other family. The body is flat and some species have scales present, but they are absent in others; the body is colored only on the exposed side. The families include such fishes as the halibut, turbot, and dab. Flounders constitute the families Bothidae and Pleuronectidae. All flounders are valued as food fishes. Several of the common species are called flukes.
The flounder begins its life looking like any other fish, but as it matures its body begins a metamorphosis where the sides of the fish's body begin to twist and the eyes end up on the top of its body, which at maturity is flattened.
In the United States the most important species of flounder is the summer flounder, also called plaice and deep-sea flounder, which is found in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Florida. The summer flounder is classified as Paralichthys dentatus. The adult summer flounder may grow to a length of about 3 feet and a weight of about 15 pounds. It feeds on small marine animals, such as shrimp, crab, and small fish. Large quantities of these fish are captured between May and October.
The winter flounder, or lemon sole, and the fourspot flounder are found along the South Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. The winter flounder is classified as Pseudopleuronectes americanus.
The diamond turbot, found along the Pacific coast, is another common species and is classified as Hypsopsetta guttulata.
The plaice of western Europe grows to 24 inches and 10 pounds and is classified as Pleuronectes platessa.