Friday, September 16, 2011

Winter Flounder

Pseudopleuronectes americanus

The Winter Flounder is one of a handful of Flounder species, strange looking ocean dwellers that have both eyes on the same side of their head. This particular species can grow as long as two feet, and live up to 20 years!

Winter Flounders are found in the western North Atlantic, and get their name from the time of year in which they typically spawn. They can be differentiated from one of their closest relatives, the Summer Flounder, by the fact that both their eyes are on their right side, and because they have no teeth. Winter Flounder feed on fish eggs and small invertebrates.

Winter Flounder take part in a short migration every year, moving from offshore feeding grounds to inshore spawning areas. Females can lay as many as 1.5 million eggs, and numbers even higher than that have been reported! Interestingly, the young Winter Flounder is born with an each on each side of its head. At around 5-6 weeks the left eye will begin to move over, and after 8 weeks the metamorphosis will be complete!

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : North Atlantic
Size : Length up to 25in (64cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Pleuronectiformes
Family : Pleuronectidae -- Genus : Pseudopleuronectes -- Species : P. americanus

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