This week’s weird animal comes from the bottom of the ocean and can camouflage into its environment. You guessed it! It’s a gulf flounder (Paralichthys albigutta). This fish was found during an ocean seining with our 10-12 year-old ocean week campers. You can see one of the campers comparing this flounder to the identification sheet.
Unlike most fish, a flounder’s eyes are what make it unique. As babies, its eyes are on both sides of the head. Once it matures, one of the eyes eventually moves to one side of its body. You see, flounders are found at the bottom of the ocean and blend into the muddy ocean floor. Once they see their prey, they use a guerrilla tactic to suddenly attack. Flounders are thin, flat and have a lateral body structure in order to remain unseen to prey. Gulf flounders can grow anywhere between 10-18 inches depending on gender. A gulf flounder prefers schools of fish such as anchovies, pinfish, grunts and more. They can be found either in a shallow reef or the depths of the ocean floor in the northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans.