Winter Flounder

Scientific Name: Pleuronectes americanus

Description: Adults have a laterally compressed body with small mouth terminal in front of eye. Colour and pattern of the body can vary depending on the bottom.

Distribution: Occurs from southern Labrador down to the Gulf of Maine . It inhabits shallow water at depths of 1.8-36.6m from soft muddy to moderately hard bottoms. During the winter the flounder move to deeper waters.

Diet: Consumes a variety of bottom organisms including polychaete worms, bivalves, gastropods and crustaceans.

Growth: Growth rate varies locally but flounder in southern regions are generally larger at a given age than northern flounder. The larvae drift in surface waters then undergo a metamorphosis where the body flattens and an eye migrates to the other side of the body.

Reproduction: In Canadian waters in late winter or early spring, spawning occurs in shallow water over sand or mud bottom. The spawners circle and expel eggs which settle to the bottom singly or in clumps. About 500,000 eggs are produced by each female and they hatch about 15-18 days after spawning.

Predation: They are eaten by monkfish, dogfish, sea ravens, harp seals, harbour seals, grey seals and some birds.

Relation to man: The flounder is caught inshore and offshore, usually caught as by-catch. The flesh is sweet, flaky and of excellent flavour.


Ocean Sciences

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