Starry Flounder

Starry Flounder (Platichthys stellatus) as seen in our Sandy Shores exhibit.

Starry Flounders are flatfish. They are easily recognized by the markings on the dorsal, anal and tail fins which are white to orange with black bands or stripes.

When they are born, they have an eye on either side of their heads just like regular fish. As they grow, however, one eye migrates to the other side and they swim on their sides for their rest of their lives. Flatfish in the northern part of the world are more likely to have their eyes on the left side of their head. The further south you travel, the more likely it is that a flatfish will have their eyes on the right side of their head.

As they mature, Starry Flounders can also change their skin color. On the topside of their bodies they form a mottled coloring to match their environment. The fish then lies still on the ocean floor so they can effectively ambush their prey such as crabs, shrimps, worms and small fish.


Range & Habitat

Starry Flounders are found on sandy or muddy sea floors from northern Alaska to southern California.


Conservation Status

Common.

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