Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Caribbean Fish Identification : Fish Identification: Peacock Flounder

Caribbean Fish Identification : Fish Identification: Peacock Flounder


The marine organism we’re going to identify
now is the peacock flounder. The peacock flounder is the most common flounder that one will
find around the coral reefs of Florida, The Bahamas, and most of the Caribbean. They’re
distinguished by the numerous blue ringed spots covering its body, although the blue
is often muted. These blue rings are what distinguished the peacock flounder from the
similar appearing eyed flounder, whose rings are brown. Peacock flounders, like eyed flounders,
also have two and sometimes three, large defuse dark spots along the lateral line of the top
side of their body. One usually behind the pectoral fin and the second about midway between
the pectoral fin and the tail. The underside of the peacock flounder is a pale white to
yellowish color, with no distinctive markings. The peacock flounder is a master of camouflage,
they can rapidly change color and shading, to blend into their surroundings. Their coloring
can go from very pale, when they are over sand, to quite dark, when they are over coral.
In addition, they will occasionally cover themselves with a fine layer of sand, making
them even harder to spot. They spend most of their time skimming over the sand near
reefs. Peacock flounders are strange fish. They start their life like a normal fish,
swimming upright with eyes on both sides of its head, but as they mature, one eye slowly
moves to the opposite side of its body until both eyes are on one side and they can lay
flat on the bottom without being noticed. The eyes can move independently so the peacock
flounder has a great view of the world surrounding him or her. Peacock flounders also have a
very long pectoral fin on the top side of their body. This fin will often be raised
while they are swimming across the bottom and will look like a small sail. I suspect
they use this raised pectoral fin as a rudder, as they swim in an undulating fashion just
above the sand or coral. Adult peacock flounders range in size from six inches to eighteen
inches with most being fifteen inches long or smaller. They are most commonly found in
sand flats at a depth of two feet to forty feet. When they lay motionless on the bottom,
in the sand, you might not even see them until you swim right over the top of the fish, which
will quickly swim away if it feels threatened. Peacock flounders feed mainly on small fishes
they find in their sandy habitat. They will also feed on small crustaceans, such as, small
hermit crabs, as well as small octopi. That’s the peacock flounder.

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