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Animal Keeper

Animal Keeper Updates

Get a peek behind the scenes of the Aquarium’s Husbandry department. Read their weekly animal updates and get an insider’s look at caring for over 10,000 animals and plants.

ANIMAL UPDATES
FISHES

Summer Flounder

Paralichthys dentatus

ON EXHIBIT: 

Tropical Cove Touch Tank in Ocean Journey

Summer Flounder

FUN FACTS

Summer flounder are a flat-bodied fish that can live up to 14 years.  Summer flounder are like chameleons, able to change the color of their skin to camouflage with the bottom habitat over which they lay.  While they may use this camouflage to hunt small fish from the ocean bottom, they are more active than other flatfishes and may even leap out of the water while dashing in pursuit of their prey.  Summer flounder are one of the most popular recreational catches along the Atlantic Coast. 

Summer flounder is a left-eyed flatfish (both eyes are on the left side of its body when viewed from above with the top fin facing up). When larvae develop into juveniles, their right eye moves across the top of the head to the left side.

CONSERVATION
Summer flounder are a recent success story in fisheries management.  Their numbers fell in the 1980s and 1990s, but recently, stocks have recovered due to effective fishery management.  They are fished with bottom trawls, which must have a Turtle Exclusion Device (TED) to reduce sea turtle bycatch.





About This Animal

SIZE: 2-3 feet in length

RANGE: The Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Florida

HABITAT: Larval summer flounder live in estuaries and coastal lagoons. Juveniles bury in the sediment in marsh creeks, seagrass beds, mud flats, and open bays, notably Pamlico Sound and Chesapeake Bay. 

DIET:  Wide variety of fish and invertebrates depending on life stage